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Transcriptional regulation of sorghum stem composition: Key players identified through co-expression gene network and comparative genomics analyses

Hennet L., Berger A., Trabanco N., Ricciuti E., Dufayard J.F., Bocs S., Bastianelli D., Bonnal L., Roques S., Rossini L., Luquet D., Terrier N., Pot D.. 2020. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11 : 29 p..

DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00224

Most sorghum biomass accumulates in stem secondary cell walls (SCW). As sorghum stems are used as raw materials for various purposes such as feed, energy and fiber reinforced polymers, identifying the genes responsible for SCW establishment is highly important. Taking advantage of studies performed in model species, most of the structural genes contributing at the molecular level to the SCW biosynthesis in sorghum have been proposed while their regulatory factors have mostly not been determined. Validation of the role of several MYB and NAC transcription factors in SCW regulation in Arabidopsis and a few other species has been provided. In this study, we contributed to the recent efforts made in grasses to uncover the mechanisms underlying SCW establishment. We reported updated phylogenies of NAC and MYB in 9 different species and exploited findings from other species to highlight candidate regulators of SCW in sorghum. We acquired expression data during sorghum internode development and used co-expression analyses to determine groups of co-expressed genes that are likely to be involved in SCW establishment. We were able to identify two groups of co-expressed genes presenting multiple evidences of involvement in SCW building. Gene enrichment analysis of MYB and NAC genes provided evidence that while NAC SECONDARY WALL THICKENING PROMOTING FACTOR NST genes and SECONDARY WALL-ASSOCIATED NAC DOMAIN PROTEIN gene functions appear to be conserved in sorghum, NAC master regulators of SCW in sorghum may not be as tissue compartmentalized as in Arabidopsis. We showed that for every homolog of the key SCW MYB in Arabidopsis, a similar role is expected for sorghum. In addition, we unveiled sorghum MYB and NAC that have not been identified to date as being involved in cell wall regulation. Although specific validation of the MYB and NAC genes uncovered in this study is needed, we provide a network of sorghum genes involved in SCW both at the structural and regulatory levels.

Mots-clés : sorghum; paroi cellulaire; expression des gènes; génomique

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