P. L. Curci, R. Aiese Cigliano, D. L. Zuluaga, M. Janni, W. Sanseverino & G. Sonnante


  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, National Research Council (CNR), Via Amendola 165/A, 70126, Bari, Italy
  • Institute for Electronics and Magnetism, National Research Council (CNR), Parco Area delle Scienze 37/A, 43124, Parma, Italy
  • Sequentia Biotech, Barcelona, Spain

Publication: Scientific Reports

Date: April 2017

Full paper:

Nitrogen (N) is a key macronutrient representing a limiting factor for plant growth and development and affects productivity in wheat. In this study, durum wheat response to N chronic starvation during grain filling was investigated through a transcriptomic approach in roots, leaves/stems, flag leaf and spikes of cv. Svevo. Nitrogen stress negatively influenced plant height, tillering, flag leaf area, spike and seed traits, and total N content. RNA-seq data revealed 4,626 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Most transcriptomic changes were observed in roots, with 3,270 DEGs, while 963 were found in leaves/stems, 470 in flag leaf, and 355 in spike tissues. A total of 799 gene ontology (GO) terms were identified, 180 and 619 among the upregulated and downregulated genes, respectively. Among the most addressed GO categories, N compound metabolism, carbon metabolism, and photosynthesis were mostly represented. Interesting DEGs, such as N transporters, genes involved in N assimilation, along with transcription factors, protein kinases and other genes related to stress were highlighted. These results provide valuable information about the transcriptomic response to chronic N stress in durum wheat, which could be useful for future improvement of N use efficiency.