Expression patterns of QTL based and other candidate genes in Madhukar × Swarna RILs with contrasting levels of iron and zinc in unpolished rice grains

Surekha Agarwal, V G N Tripura Venkata, Anuradha Kotla, Satendra Kumar Mangrauthia, Sarla Neelamraju
Gene 2014 August 10, 546 (2): 430-6

BACKGROUND: Identifying QTLs/genes for iron and zinc in rice grains can help in biofortification programs. Genome wide mapping showed 14 QTLs for iron and zinc concentration in unpolished rice grains of F7 RILs derived from Madhukar × Swarna. One line (HL) with high Fe and Zn and one line (LL) with low Fe and Zn in unpolished rice were compared with each other for gene expression using qPCR. 7 day old seedlings were grown in Fe+ and Fe- medium for 10 days and RNA extracted from roots and shoots to determine the response of 15 genes in Fe- conditions.

RESULTS: HL showed higher upregulation than LL in shoots but LL showed higher upregulation than HL in roots. YSL2 was upregulated only in HL roots and YSL15 only in HL shoots and both up to 60 fold under Fe- condition. IRT2 and DMAS1 were upregulated 100 fold and NAS2 1000 fold in HL shoot. NAS2, IRT1, IRT2 and DMAS1 were upregulated 40 to 100 fold in LL roots. OsZIP8, OsNAS3, OsYSL1 and OsNRAMP1 which underlie major Fe QTL showed clear allelic differences between HL and LL for markers flanking QTL. The presence of iron increasing QTL allele in HL was clearly correlated with high expression of the underlying gene. OsZIP8 and OsNAS3 which were within major QTL with increasing effect from Madhukar were 8 fold and 4 fold more expressed in HL shoot than in LL shoot. OsNAS1, OsNAS2, OsNAS3, OsYSL2 and OsYSL15 showed 1.5 to 2.5 fold upregulation in flag leaf of HL when compared with flag leaf of Swarna.

CONCLUSION: HL and LL differed in root length, Fe concentration and expression of several genes under Fe deficiency. The major distinguishing genes were NAS2, IRT2, DMAS1, and YSL15 in shoot and NAS2, IRT1, IRT2, YSL2, and ZIP8 in roots. The presence of iron increasing QTL allele in HL at marker locus close to genes also increased upregulation in HL.

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