JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cold stress alters transcription in meiotic anthers of cold tolerant chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)

Kamal Dev Sharma, Harsh Nayyar
BMC Research Notes 2014, 7: 717
25306382

BACKGROUND: Cold stress at reproductive phase in susceptible chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) leads to pollen sterility induced flower abortion. The tolerant genotypes, on the other hand, produce viable pollen and set seed under cold stress. Genomic information on pollen development in cold-tolerant chickpea under cold stress is currently unavailable.

RESULTS: DDRT-PCR analysis was carried out to identify anther genes involved in cold tolerance in chickpea genotype ICC16349 (cold-tolerant). A total of 9205 EST bands were analyzed. Cold stress altered expression of 127 ESTs (90 up-regulated, 37 down-regulated) in anthers, more than two third (92) of which were novel with unknown protein identity and function. Remaining about one third (35) belonged to several functional categories such as pollen development, signal transduction, ion transport, transcription, carbohydrate metabolism, translation, energy and cell division. The categories with more number of transcripts were carbohydrate/triacylglycerol metabolism, signal transduction, pollen development and transport. All but two transcripts in these categories were up-regulated under cold stress. To identify time of regulation after stress and organ specificity, expression levels of 25 differentially regulated transcripts were also studied in anthers at six time points and in four organs (anthers, gynoecium, leaves and roots) at four time points.

CONCLUSIONS: Limited number of genes were involved in regulating cold tolerance in chickpea anthers. Moreover, the cold tolerance was manifested by up-regulation of majority of the differentially expressed transcripts. The anthers appeared to employ dual cold tolerance mechanism based on their protection from cold by enhancing triacylglycerol and carbohydrate metabolism; and maintenance of normal pollen development by regulating pollen development genes. Functional characterization of about two third of the novel genes is needed to have precise understanding of the cold tolerance mechanisms in chickpea anthers.

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