A novel insight into nitrogen and auxin signaling in lateral root formation in tea plant [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze]

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Hu, Shunkai
Zhang, Mi
Yang, Yiqing
Xuan, Wei
Zou, Zhongwei
Arkorful, Emmanuel
Chen, Yi
Ma, Qingping
Jeyaraj, Anburaj
Chen, Xuan
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Abstract Background Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages worldwide. In tea, lateral roots (LRs) are the main organ responsible for the absorption of moisture and mineral nutrients from the soil. Lateral roots formation and development are regulated by the nitrogen and auxin signaling pathways. In order to understand the role of auxin and nitrogen signaling in LRs formation and development, transcriptome analysis was employed to investigate the differentially expressed genes involved in lateral roots of tea plants treated with indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA), low and high concentrations of nitrogen. Results A total of 296 common differentially expressed genes were identified and annotated to four signaling pathways, including nitrogen metabolism, plant hormone signal transduction, glutathione metabolism and transcription factors. RNA-sequencing results revealed that majority of differentially expressed genes play important roles in nitrogen metabolism and hormonal signal transduction. Low nitrogen condition induced the biosynthesis of auxin and accumulation of transcripts, thereby, regulating lateral roots formation. Furthermore, metabolism of cytokinin and ethylene biosynthesis were also involved in lateral roots development. Transcription factors like MYB genes also contributed to lateral roots formation of tea plants through secondary cell wall biosynthesis. Reversed phase ultra performance liquid chromatography (RP-UPLC) results showed that the auxin concentration increased with the decreased nitrogen level in lateral roots. Thus, tea plant lateral roots formation could be induced by low nitrogen concentration via auxin biosynthesis and accumulation. Conclusion This study provided insights into the mechanisms associated with nitrogen and auxin signaling pathways in LRs formation and provides information on the efficient utilization of nitrogen in tea plant at the genetic level.
BMC Plant Biology. 2020 May 24;20(1):232