Identification of stress-responsive genes in an indica rice (Oryza sativa L.) using ESTs generated from drought-stressed seedlings

Markandeya Gorantla, P R Babu, V B Reddy Lachagari, A M M Reddy, Ramakrishna Wusirika, Jeffrey L Bennetzen, Arjula R Reddy
Journal of Experimental Botany 2007, 58 (2): 253-65
The impacts of drought on plant growth and development limit cereal crop production worldwide. Rice (Oryza sativa) productivity and production is severely affected due to recurrent droughts in almost all agroecological zones. With the advent of molecular and genomic technologies, emphasis is now placed on understanding the mechanisms of genetic control of the drought-stress response. In order to identify genes associated with water-stress response in rice, ESTs generated from a normalized cDNA library, constructed from drought-stressed leaf tissue of an indica cultivar, Nagina 22 were used. Analysis of 7794 cDNA sequences led to the identification of 5815 rice ESTs. Of these, 334 exhibited no significant sequence homology with any rice ESTs or full-length cDNAs in public databases, indicating that these transcripts are enriched during drought stress. Analysis of these 5815 ESTs led to the identification of 1677 unique sequences. To characterize this drought transcriptome further and to identify candidate genes associated with the drought-stress response, the rice data were compared with those for abiotic stress-induced sequences obtained from expression profiling studies in Arabidopsis, barley, maize, and rice. This comparative analysis identified 589 putative stress-responsive genes (SRGs) that are shared by these diverse plant species. Further, the identified leaf SRGs were compared to expression profiles for a drought-stressed rice panicle library to identify common sequences. Significantly, 125 genes were found to be expressed under drought stress in both tissues. The functional classification of these 125 genes showed that a majority of them are associated with cellular metabolism, signal transduction, and transcriptional regulation.

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