Genome-Wide Identification of and Functional Insights into the Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) Gene Family in Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum)
Hao Liu, Mingyan Xing, Wenbo Yang, Xiaoqian Mu, Xin Wang, Feng Lu, Yao Wang, Linsheng Zhang.
Abstract: Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are involved in the responses and adaptation of plants to various abiotic stresses, including dehydration, salinity, high temperature, and cold. Here, we report the first comprehensive survey of the LEA gene family in “Chinese Spring” wheat (Triticum aestivum). A total of 179 TaLEA genes were identified in T. aestivum and classified into eight groups. All TaLEA genes harbored the LEA conserved motif and had few introns. TaLEA genes belonging to the same group exhibited similar gene structures and chromosomal locations. Our results revealed that most TaLEA genes contained abscisic acid (ABA)-responsive elements (ABREs) and various cis-acting elements associated with the stress response in the promoter region and were induced under ABA and abiotic stress treatments. In addition, 8 genes representing each group were introduced into E. coli and yeast to investigate the protective function of TaLEAs under heat and salt stress. TaLEAs enhanced the tolerance of E. coli and yeast to salt and heat, indicating that these proteins have protective functions in host cells under stress conditions. These results increase our understanding of LEA genes and provide robust candidate genes for future functional investigations aimed at improving the stress tolerance of wheat.