Comparative transcriptome analysis of major lodging resistant factors in hulless barley
Bai, Yixiong, Xiaohong Zhao, Xiaohua Yao, Youhua Yao, Xin Li, Lu Hou, Likun An, Kunlun Wu and Zhonghua Wang
Frontiers in Plant Science
Hulless barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f.), belonging to the genus Gramineae, has high and steady output and thus considered as a principal food crop by Tibetan people. Hulless barley grain can be used for food, brewing, and functional health product development, while its straw serves as an essential supplementary forage and is a crucial cereal crop. Lodging can reduce the yield and quality of barley grain and straw, and it hinders mechanical harvesting. It is a significant factor affecting high and stable yields of barley. Unlike other Poaceae plants (such as rice, wheat), hulless barley is mainly grown in high-altitude regions, where it is susceptible to low temperatures, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. As a result, its stem lodging resistance is relatively weak, making it prone to lodging during the growth period. In this study, we observed that the lignin concentration and the contents of lignin monomers (H, S, and G), and neutral detergent fibre of the lodging-resistant variety Kunlun14 were substantially greater than those of the lodging-sensitive variety Menyuanlianglan. We performed the weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and Short Time-series Expression Miner (STEM) analysis of both the lodging-resistant and lodging-sensitive varieties. Through transcriptome sequencing analysis at different developmental stages, combined with the previously annotated genes related to lodging resistance, a total of 72 DEGs were identified. Among these DEGs, 17 genes were related to lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose synthesis or regulation, including five transcription factors about NAC, MYB and WRKY. Our results provide a basis for further exploring the molecular mechanism of stem lodging resistance in hulless barley and provide valuable gene resources for stem lodging resistance molecular breeding.