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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (1) 39-46 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.1.6
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

The effects of drought stress on leaf gene expression during flowering in blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.)

N. Čereković1, D. Jarret2, M. Pagter4,1, D.W. Cullen3, J.M. Morris3, P.E. Hedley3, R. Brennan3 and K.K. Petersen1
1 Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
2 Mylnefield Research Services Ltd., Invergowrie, Dundee, Scotland, UK
3 The James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, Scotland, UK
4 Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam-Golm, Germany

SUMMARY
This study provides genome expression analyses from the blackcurrant cultivar ‘Ben Gairn’ after five days of drought stress. RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq) data was utilized to generate a non-redundant set of 40,225 predicted transcripts used to design a custom Ribes microarray. A set of 2,115 differentially expressed genes were identified during drought treatment; 429 of these genes were up-regulated, with 263 showing homology to unique Arabidopsis thaliana (At) accessions, and 1,686 genes were down-regulated, with 675 unique At numbers. The Arabidopsis homologs were analysed for enrichment of GO (gene ontology) terms using the Term Enrichment Tool. This showed a number of GO terms highly enriched in the drought up-regulated and down-regulated gene lists in GO categories associated with molecular function, biological process and cellular component. The identification of several hormone metabolism, cell wall, cell cycle, and transcription factor genes indicated that they could play an important role in the drought stress tolerance response. The results provide relevant information for focusing future studies with the aim to develop drought tolerant cultivars for sustainable production.

Keywords cell wall and cell cycle, GO term enrichment analyses, hormone metabolism genes, Ribes microarray, transcription factors

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Drought is a major limitation for crop productivity worldwide and in future periods of water stress are more likely to occur. Molecular responses to drought stress are very complex, but our understanding has rapidly progressed with the identification of thousands of genes involved in acclimatization and adaptation.
What are the new findings?
  • Genome expression analyses from blackcurrant ‘Ben Gairn’ after five days of drought stress. Volcano filtering identified 2,115 differentially expressed microarray probes; 429 were up-regulated, with 263 showing homology to unique Arabidopsis thaliana (At) accessions, and 1,686 were down-regulated, with 675 unique At numbers.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • Putative candidate genes involved in drought stress tolerance of blackcurrant were identified, but require further, more detailed, studies to confirm their role. The results provide relevant information for focusing future studies with the aim to develop drought tolerant cultivars for sustainable production.

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Supplemental information

E-mail: karenk.petersen@food.au.dk  

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Received: 16 July 2014 | Accepted: 18 November 2014 | Published: 26 February 2015 | Available online: 26 February 2015

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