Combined QTL mapping and RNA-Seq profiling reveals candidate genes associated with cadmium tolerance in barley

Behnam Derakhshani, Hossein Jafary, Bahram Maleki Zanjani, Karim Hasanpur, Kohei Mishina, Tsuyoshi Tanaka, Yoshihiro Kawahara, Youko Oono
PloS One 2020, 15 (4): e0230820
The high toxicity of cadmium (Cd) and its ready uptake by plants has become a major agricultural problem. To investigate the genetic architecture and genetic regulation of Cd tolerance in barley, we conducted quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis in the phenotypically polymorphic Oregon Wolfe Barley (OWB) mapping population, derived from a cross between Rec and Dom parental genotypes. Through evaluating the Cd tolerance of 87 available doubled haploid lines of the OWB mapping population at the seedling stage, one minor and one major QTL were detected on chromosomes 2H and 6H, respectively. For chlorosis and necrosis traits, the major QTL explained 47.24% and 38.59% of the phenotypic variance, respectively. RNA-Seq analysis of the parental seedlings under Cd treatment revealed 542 differentially expressed genes between Cd-tolerant Rec and Cd-susceptible Dom genotypes. By analyzing sequence variations in transcribed sequences of the parental genotypes, 155,654 SNPs and 1,525 InDels were identified between the two contrasting genotypes and may contribute to Cd tolerance. Finally, by integrating the data from the identified QTLs and RNA-Seq analysis, 16 Cd tolerance-related candidate genes were detected, nine of which were metal ion transporters. These results provide promising candidate genes for further gene cloning and improving Cd tolerance in barley.

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