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Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis Of Biological Process And Key Pathway In Three Cotton (Gossypium Spp.) Species Under Drought Stress

Md Mosfeq-Ul Hasan, Fanglu Ma, Faisal Islam, Muhammad Sajid, Zakaria H. Prodhan, Feng Li, Hao Shen, Yadong Chen, Xuede Wang

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Drought is one of the most important abiotic stresses that seriously affects cotton growth, development, and production worldwide. However, the molecular mechanism, key pathway, and responsible genes for drought tolerance incotton have not been stated clearly. In this research, high-throughput next generation sequencing technique was utilized to investigate gene expression profiles of three cotton species (Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium arboreum, and Gossypium barbadense L.) under drought stress. A total of 6968 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, where 2053, 742, and 4173 genes were tested as statistically significant; 648, 320, and 1998 genes were up-regulated, and 1405, 422, and 2175 were down-regulated in TM-1, Zhongmian-16, and Pima4-S, respectively. Total DEGs were annotated and classified into functional groups under gene ontology analysis. The biological process was present only in tolerant species(TM-1), indicating drought tolerance condition. The Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes showed the involvement of plant hormone signal transduction and metabolic pathways enrichment under drought stress. Several transcription factors associated with ethylene-responsive genes (ICE1, MYB44, FAMA, etc.) were identified as playing key roles in acclimatizing to drought stress. Drought also caused significant changes in the expression of certain functional genes linked to abscisic acid (ABA) responses (NCED, PYL, PP2C, and SRK2E), reactive oxygen species (ROS) related in small heat shock protein and 18.1 kDa I heat shock protein, YLS3, and ODORANT1 genes. These results will provide deeper insights into the molecular mechanisms of drought stress adaptation in cotton.