Protein biomarkers for root length and root dry mass on chromosomes 4A and 7A in wheat

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Improving the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) root system is important for enhancing grain yield and climate resilience. Total root length (RL) and root dry mass (RM) significantly contribute to water and nutrient acquisition directly impacting grain yield and stress tolerance. This study used label-free quantitative proteomics to identify proteins associated with RL and RM in wheat near-isogenic lines (NILs). NIL pair 6 had 113 and NIL pair 9 had 30 differentially abundant proteins (DAPs). Three of identified DAPs located within the targeted genomic regions (GRs) of NIL pairs 6 (qDT.4A.1) and 9 (QHtscc.ksu-7A), showed consistent gene expressions at the protein and mRNA transcription (qRT-PCR) levels for asparagine synthetase (TraesCS4A02G109900), signal recognition particle 19 kDa protein (TraesCS7A02G333600) and 3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate synthase (TraesCS7A02G415600). This study discovered, for the first time, the involvement of these proteins as candidate biomarkers for increased RL and RM in wheat. However, further functional validation is required to ascertain their practical applicability in wheat root breeding. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: Climate change has impacted global demand for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Root traits such as total root length (RL) and root dry mass (RM) are crucial for water and nutrient uptake and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, and nutrient imbalance in wheat. Improving RL and RM could significantly enhance wheat grain yield and climate resilience. However, breeding for these traits has been limited by lack of appropriate root phenotyping methods, advanced genotypes, and the complex nature of the wheat genome. In this study, we used a semi-hydroponic root phenotyping system to collect accurate root data, near-isogenic lines (NILs; isolines with similar genetic backgrounds but contrasting target genomic regions (GRs)) and label-free quantitative proteomics to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying high RL and RM in wheat. We identified differentially abundant proteins (DAPs) and their molecular pathways in NIL pairs 6 (GR: qDT.4A.1) and 9 (GR: QHtscc.ksu-7A), providing a foundation for further molecular investigations. Furthermore, we identified three DAPs within the target GRs of the NIL pairs with differential expression at the transcript level, as confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis which could serve as candidate protein biomarkers for RL and RM improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105044
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024

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