Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) exhibits natural genetic variation in drought response, including varying levels of proline (Pro) accumulation under low water potential. As Pro accumulation is potentially important for stress tolerance and cellular redox control, we conducted a genome-wide association (GWAS) study of low water potential-induced Pro accumulation using a panel of natural accessions and publicly available single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data sets. Candidate genomic regions were prioritized for subsequent study using metrics considering both the strength and spatial clustering of the association signal. These analyses found many candidate regions likely containing gene(s) influencing Pro accumulation. Reverse genetic analysis of several candidates identified new Pro effector genes, including thioredoxins and several genes encoding Universal Stress ProteinA domain proteins. These new Pro effector genes further link Pro accumulation to cellular redox and energy status. Additional new Pro effector genes found include the mitochondrial protease LON1, ribosomal protein RPL24A, protein phosphatase 2Asubunit A3, a MADS box protein, and a nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase. Several of these new Pro effector genes were from regions with multiple SNPs, each having moderate association with Pro accumulation. This pattern supports the use of summary approaches that incorporate clusters of SNP associations in addition to consideration of individual SNP probability values. Further GWASguided reverse genetics promises to find additional effectors of Pro accumulation. The combination of GWAS and reverse genetics to efficiently identify new effector genes may be especially applicable for traits difficult to analyze by other genetic screening methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science