Identification of salt responsive genes using comparative microarray analysis in Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Laura Rodriguez-Uribe, Sarah M Higbie, James McD Stewart, Thea Wilkins, W Lindemann, C Sengupta-Gopalan, Jinfa Zhang
Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology 2011, 180 (3): 461-9
Salinity negatively impacts plant growth and productivity, and little is known about salt responsive genes in cotton. In this study, an intra-specific backcross population of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) was treated with 200 mM NaCl after which differentially expressed genes were identified by comparison between salt tolerant and susceptible segregant bulks using comparative microarray analysis. Microarray analysis identified 720 salt-responsive genes, of which 695 were down-regulated and only 25 were up-regulated in the salt tolerant bulk. Gene ontology of annotated genes revealed that at least some of the identified salt responsive transcripts belong to pathways known to be associated with salt stress including osmolyte and lipid metabolism, cell wall structure, and membrane synthesis. About 48% of all salt-responsive genes were functionally unknown. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to validate 17 selected salt responsive genes. This work represents the first study in employing microarray to investigate the possible mechanisms of the salt response in cotton. Further analysis of salt-responsive genes associated with salt tolerance in cotton will assist in laying a foundation for molecular manipulation in development of new cultivars with improved salt tolerance.

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