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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01292

Knockdown of ghAlba_4 and ghAlba_5 Proteins in Cotton Inhibits Root Growth and Increases Sensitivity to Drought and Salt Stresses

 RICHARD O. MAGWANGA1*,  Joy N. Kirungu2, Pu Lu2, Xiaoyan Cai2, Yanchao Xu2, Xingxing Wang2, Zhongli Zhou2, Yuqing Hou2, Stephen G. Agong3 and Liu Fang2*
  • 1Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Cotton Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China
  • 3School of Biological and Physical sciences Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya

We found 33, 17 and 20 Alba genes in Gossypium hirsutum, G. arboreum and G. raimondii, respectively. The Alba protein lengths ranged from 62 to 312 aa, the molecular weight (MW) from 7.003 to 34.55 kDa, grand average hydropathy values of -1.012 to 0.609 and isoelectric (pI) values of -3 to 11. Moreover, miRNAs such as gra-miR8770 targeted four genes, gra-miR8752 and gra-miR8666 targeted three genes, each and gra-miR8657 a, b, c, d, e targeted 10 genes each, while the rests targeted 1 to 2 genes each. Similarly, various cis-regulatory elements were detected with significant roles in enhancing abiotic stress tolerance, such as CBFHV (RYCGAC) with a role in cold stress acclimation among others. Two genes, Gh_D01G0884 and Gh_D01G0922 were found to be highly induced under water deficit and salt stress conditions. Through virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS), the VIGS cotton plants were found to be highly susceptible to both water deficit and salt stresses, the VIGS plants exhibited a significant reduction in root growth, low cell membrane stability (CMS), saturated leaf weight (SLW), chlorophyll content levels and higher excised leaf water loss (ELWL). Furthermore, the stress-responsive genes and ROS scavenging enzymes were significantly reduced in the VIGS plants compared to either the wild type (WT) and or the positively controlled plants. The VIGS plants registered higher concentration levels of hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde, with significantly lower levels of the various antioxidants evaluated an indication that the VIGS plants were highly affected by salt and drought stresses. This result provides a key foundation for future exploration of the Alba proteins in relation to abiotic stress.

Keywords: Cotton Alba genes, miRNAs, cis-regulatory elements, VIGS and wild cotton, Virus induced gene silencing (VIGS), Water deficit and salt stresses, Oxidant and antioxidant enzymes

Received: 09 Apr 2019; Accepted: 17 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 MAGWANGA, Kirungu, Lu, Cai, Xu, Wang, Zhou, Hou, Agong and Fang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. RICHARD O. MAGWANGA, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China, magwangarichard@yahoo.com
Prof. Liu Fang, State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Cotton Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Anyang, 455000, China, liufcri@caas.com