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Transcriptomic Analysis of the Tolerance Response to Dehydration and Rehydration in Wheat Seedlings

Ping Zhang1, Zhiyou Kong2, Junna Liu1, Yongjiang Liu1, Qianchao Wang1, Xiuju Huan1, Li Li1, Yunfeng Jiang3, Peng Qin1,*
1 College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, 650201, China
2 College of Natural Resources and Environment, Baoshan University, Baoshan, 678000, China
3 Triticeae Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 610000, China
* Corresponding Author: Peng Qin. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Physiology for Crop Production and Sustainable Agriculture)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2022, 91(2), 375-394.

Received 28 February 2021; Accepted 06 July 2021; Issue published 26 September 2021


Drought is the main abiotic stress that restricts wheat production. The rapid development of sequencing technology and its widespread application to various fields have revealed the structural characteristics and regulation of related genes through gene expression analysis. Here, we studied responses of wheat plants under drought and re-watering conditions, using morphological and physiological indicators. Moreover, a transcriptome analysis was conducted on Jingmai 12, a drought-resistant wheat strain, to explore the mechanism underlying the response of drought-resistant wheat seedlings to drought stress at the transcriptome level. Drought stress caused morphological and physiological changes in both drought-resistant and -sensitive varieties, but to a greater extent in the drought-sensitive specimen. After re-watering, the drought-resistant wheat showed greater ability to recover than the drought-sensitive wheat. Transcriptome sequencing of Jingmai 12 revealed 97,422 genes, including 80,373 known genes and 17,049 newly predicted genes. The observed upregulation of genes was mostly involved in hormone and signal transduction, carbon metabolism, amino acid synthesis, small molecule production, transmembrane transport, ROS detoxification and defense, drought response protein, and protective enzyme activity. Downregulated genes were mostly involved in photosynthesis, lipid metabolism, signaling, and auxin response. Upon rehydration, these genes and metabolic pathways returned to normal. Our results suggest that all these changes are adaptations to drought stress. Through morphological adaptation, physiological regulation, and the expression of drought-induced genes, normal growth of drought-resistant varieties under drought stress can be promoted. These results increase our understanding of the transcriptomic changes taking place in drought-resistant wheat seedlings under drought stress, and provide a direction for future investigations.


Drought stress; inducible gene; morphological indicator; physiological indicator; RNA sequencing; wheat seedling

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Cite This Article

Zhang, P., Kong, Z., Liu, J., Liu, Y., Wang, Q. et al. (2022). Transcriptomic Analysis of the Tolerance Response to Dehydration and Rehydration in Wheat Seedlings. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 91(2), 375–394.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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