Drought stress causes significant yield losses in major oil seed crops, such as soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr]. Few soybean lines have been identified as canopy-wilting tolerant; however, the molecular mechanism conferring tolerance is not fully understood. To understand the biological process, a whole genome transcriptome analysis was performed for leaf tissues of two contrasting soybean lines: drought-susceptible (DS) Pana and drought-tolerant (DT) PI 567690. A pairwise comparison of the DS and DT lines under drought and control conditions detected 1914 and 670 genes with a greater than two-fold change in expression under drought conditions. Pairwise treatment comparison and gene enrichment analysis on the DT line showed the down-regulation of genes associated with protein binding, hydrolase activity, carbohydrate/lipid metabolism, xyloglucan endo-transglycosylases associated with cell-wall, apoplast, and chlorophyll a/b binding proteins. On the other hand, genes that were associated with the biotic stress response, ion binding and transport, the oxido-reductive process and electron carrier activity were up-regulated. Gene enrichment analysis detected UDP glucuronosyl transferase activity-encoding genes to be differentially expressed in PI 567690 under drought stress conditions. We found valuable SNPs variation in aquaporin genes of the DT line that are conserved in known slower canopy-wilting lines, this should facilitate marker-assisted selection in soybeans with improved drought tolerance.
- Canopy wilting
- Drought stress