Salt-induced expression of intracellular vesicle trafficking genes, CaRab-GTP, and their association with Na+ accumulation in leaves of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)

Crystal Sweetman, Gulmira Khassanova, Troy K. Miller, Nicholas J. Booth, Akhylbek Kurishbayev, Satyvaldy Jatayev, Narendra K. Gupta, Peter Langridge, Colin L.D. Jenkins, Kathleen L. Soole, David A. Day, Yuri Shavrukov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Chickpea is an important legume and is moderately tolerant to salinity stress during the growing season. However, the level and mechanisms for salinity tolerance can vary among accessions and cultivars. A large family of CaRab-GTP genes, previously identified in chickpea, is homologous to intracellular vesicle trafficking superfamily genes that play essential roles in response to salinity stress in plants. Results: To determine which of the gene family members are involved in the chickpea salt response, plants from six selected chickpea accessions (Genesis 836, Hattrick, ICC12726, Rupali, Slasher and Yubileiny) were exposed to salinity stress and expression profiles resolved for the major CaRab-GTP gene clades after 5, 9 and 15 days of salt exposure. Gene clade expression profiles (using degenerate primers targeting all members of each clade) were tested for their relationship to salinity tolerance measures, namely plant biomass and Na+ accumulation. Transcripts representing 11 out of the 13 CaRab clades could be detected by RT-PCR, but only six (CaRabA2, −B, −C, −D, −E and −H) could be quantified using qRT-PCR due to low expression levels or poor amplification efficiency of the degenerate primers for clades containing several gene members. Expression profiles of three gene clades, CaRabB, −D and −E, were very similar across all six chickpea accessions, showing a strongly coordinated network. Salt-induced enhancement of CaRabA2 expression at 15 days showed a very strong positive correlation (R2 = 0.905) with Na+ accumulation in leaves. However, salinity tolerance estimated as relative plant biomass production compared to controls, did not correlate with Na+ accumulation in leaves, nor with expression profiles of any of the investigated CaRab-GTP genes. Conclusion: A coordinated network of CaRab-GTP genes, which are likely involved in intracellular trafficking, are important for the salinity stress response of chickpea plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue numberSupp 1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020


  • Chickpea
  • Gene expression
  • Rab-GTP genes
  • Salinity
  • Salt stress
  • Vesicle trafficking


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