University of Oulu

Mohamed Neji, Anais Gorel, Dario I. Ojeda, Jérôme Duminil, Chedly Kastally, Kathy Steppe, Adeline Fayolle, Olivier J. Hardy, Comparative analysis of two sister Erythrophleum species (Leguminosae) reveal contrasting transcriptome-wide responses to early drought stress, Gene, Volume 694, 2019, Pages 50-62, ISSN 0378-1119,

Comparative analysis of two sister Erythrophleum species (Leguminosae) reveal contrasting transcriptome-wide responses to early drought stress

Saved in:
Author: Neji, Mohamed1,2,3; Gorel, Anais4; Ojeda, Dario I.1,5,6;
Organizations: 1Unit of Evolutionary Biology & Ecology, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Av. F.D. Roosevelt, 50, CP 160/12, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
2Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences of Gabès, University of Gabès, Tunisia
3Laboratory of Extremophile Plants, Centre of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria, Hammam-Lif, Tunisia
4Department Biosystem Engineering (BIOSE), Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, Belgium
5Unit of Ecology and Genetics, Department of Biology, Oulu University, Finland
6Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Ås, Norway
7UMR-DIADE, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Univ. Montpellier, Montpellier, France
8Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-12


With the ongoing climate change, African rainforests are expected to experience severe drought events in the future. In Africa, the tropical genus Erythrophleum (Fabaceae) includes two forest sister timber tree species displaying contrasting geographical distributions. Erythrophleum ivorense is adapted to wet evergreen Guineo-Congolian forests, whereas E. suaveolens occurs in a wider range of climates, being found in moist dense forests but also in gallery forests under a relatively drier climate. This geographical distribution pattern suggests that the two species might cope differently to drought at the genomic level. Yet, the genetic basis of tolerance response to drought stress in both species is still uncharacterized. To bridge this gap, we performed an RNA-seq approach on seedlings from each species to monitor their transcriptional responses at different levels of drought stress (0, 2 and 6 weeks after stopping watering seedlings).

Monitoring of wilting symptoms revealed that E. suaveolens displayed an earlier phenotypic response to drought stress than E. ivorense. At the transcriptomic level, results revealed 2020 (1204 down-regulated/816 up-regulated) and 1495 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to drought stress from a total of 67,432 and 66,605 contigs assembled in E. ivorense and E. suaveolens, respectively. After identifying 30,374 orthologs between species, we found that only 7 of them were DEGs shared between species, while 587 and 458 were differentially expressed only in E. ivorense or E. suaveolens, respectively. GO and KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that the two species differ in terms of significantly regulated pathways as well as the number and expression profile of DEGs (Up/Down) associated with each pathway in the two stress stages. Our results suggested that the two studied species react differently to drought. E. suaveolens seems displaying a prompt response to drought at its early stage strengthened by the down-regulation of many DEGs encoding for signaling and metabolism-related pathways. A considerable up-regulation of these pathways was also found in E. ivorense at the late stage of drought, suggesting this species may be a late responder. Overall, our data may serve as basis for further understanding the genetic control of drought tolerance in tropical trees and favor the selection of crucial genes for genetically enhancing drought resistance.

see all

Series: Gene
ISSN: 0378-1119
ISSN-E: 1879-0038
ISSN-L: 0378-1119
Volume: 694
Pages: 50 - 62
DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2019.01.027
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: We thank Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI) for the provided Postdoctoral Fellowships attributed to M.N. The genetic analyses were funded by the F.R.S. - FNRS (grants n° J.0292.17F and T.0163.13) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (Belspo, project AFRIFORD). Computational resources have been provided by the Consortium des Équipements de Calcul Intensif (CÉCI), funded by the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique (F.R.S. - FNRS) under Grant No. 2.5020.11.
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license