Legume-wide comparative analysis of pod shatter locus PDH1 reveals phaseoloid specificity, high cowpea expression and stress responsive genomic context

Jacob I. Marsh, Benjamin J. Nestor, Jakob Petereit, Cassandria G. Tay Fernandez, Philipp E. Bayer, Jacqueline Batley, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pod dehiscence is a major source of yield loss in legumes which is exacerbated by aridity. Disruptive mutations in 'Pod indehiscent 1' (PDH1), a pod sclerenchyma-specific lignin biosynthesis gene, has been linked to significant reductions in dehiscence in several legume species. We compared syntenic PDH1 regions across 12 legumes and two outgroups to uncover key historical evolutionary trends at this important locus. Our results clarified the extent to which PDH1 orthologs are present in legumes, showing the typical genomic context surrounding PDH1 has only arisen relatively recently in certain phaseoloid species (Vigna, Phaseolus, Glycine). The notable absence of PDH1 in Cajanus cajan may be a major contributor to its indehiscent phenotype compared to other phaseoloids. In addition, we identified a novel PDH1 ortholog in Vigna angularis and detected remarkable increases in PDH1 transcript abundance during Vigna unguiculata pod development. Investigation of the shared genomic context of PDH1 revealed it lies in a hotspot of transcription factors and signalling gene families that respond to abscisic acid and drought stress, which we hypothesize may be an additional factor influencing expression of PDH1 under specific environmental conditions. Our findings provide key insights into the evolutionary history of PDH1 and lay the foundation for optimizing the pod dehiscence role of PDH1 in major and understudied legume species.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Plant Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Mar 2023

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