Identification, Characterization and Expression Profiling of Dicer-Like, Argonaute and RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase Gene Families in Foxtail Millet

Research paper by Chandra Bhan Yadav, Mehanathan Muthamilarasan, Garima Pandey, Manoj Prasad

Indexed on: 15 May '14Published on: 15 May '14Published in: Plant molecular biology reporter / ISPMB


Post-transcriptional control of gene expression is achieved through RNA interference where the activities of Dicer-like (DCL), Argonautes (AGO) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) are significant. Hence, considering the importance of DCL, AGO and RDRs, a comprehensive genome-wide analysis was performed in foxtail millet. The study identified 8 DCL, 19 AGO and 11 RDR genes. Phylogenetic and domain analysis provided interesting information on the evolutionary and structural aspects of these proteins. The orthologs of Setaria italica DCL (SiDCL), AGO (SiAGO) and RDRs (SiRDRs) were identified in sorghum, maize and rice, and the evolutionary relationships among the orthologous gene pairs were investigated. Promoter analysis of SiDCL, SiAGO and SiRDR genes revealed the presence of unique and common cis-acting elements at the upstream of respective gene sequences, which serves as binding sites for several developmental and stress-related transcription factors. In silico expression profiling using RNA-sequence data showed tissue-specific expression patterns of these genes in foxtail millet. Candidate genes representing each sub-family were chosen for expression analysis through quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) under salinity, dehydration and hormonal treatments. It revealed the differential expression pattern of candidate genes at different time points of stresses. This is the first report on genome-wide analysis of SiDCL, SiAGO and SiRDR gene families in foxtail millet, which provides basic genomic information and insights into the putative roles of these genes in abiotic stresses. The present study will serve as a base for further functional characterization of these gene families in foxtail millet and related grass species.