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Front Plant Sci. 2017 Mar 1;8:267. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00267. eCollection 2017.

Transcriptome Analysis of Flowering Time Genes under Drought Stress in Maize Leaves.

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Department of Life Science, Dongguk University-Seoul Seoul, South Korea.
Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Institute, Kangwon National University Chuncheon, South Korea.
Department of Plant Resources, College of Industrial Science, Kongju National University Yesan, South Korea.


Flowering time is an important factor determining yield and seed quality in maize. A change in flowering time is a strategy used to survive abiotic stresses. Among abiotic stresses, drought can increase anthesis-silking intervals (ASI), resulting in negative effects on maize yield. We have analyzed the correlation between flowering time and drought stress using RNA-seq and bioinformatics tools. Our results identified a total of 619 genes and 126 transcripts whose expression was altered by drought stress in the maize B73 leaves under short-day condition. Among drought responsive genes, we also identified 20 genes involved in flowering times. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis was used to predict the functions of the drought-responsive genes and transcripts. GO categories related to flowering time included reproduction, flower development, pollen-pistil interaction, and post-embryonic development. Transcript levels of several genes that have previously been shown to affect flowering time, such as PRR37, transcription factor HY5, and CONSTANS, were significantly altered by drought conditions. Furthermore, we also identified several drought-responsive transcripts containing C2H2 zinc finger, CCCH, and NAC domains, which are frequently involved in transcriptional regulation and may thus have potential to alter gene expression programs to change maize flowering time. Overall, our results provide a genome-wide analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs), novel transcripts, and isoform variants expressed during the reproductive stage of maize plants subjected to drought stress and short-day condition. Further characterization of the drought-responsive transcripts identified in this study has the potential to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate flowering time under drought stress.


RNA-seq; alternative splicing; drought; flowering time; maize

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