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Analysis of a tetraploid cotton line Mac7 transcriptome reveals mechanisms underlying resistance against the whitefly Bemisia tabaci

Muhammad Qasim Aslam, Rubab Zahra Naqvi, Syed Shan-e-Ali Zaidi, Muhammad Asif, Khalid Pervaiz Akhter, Brian E. Scheffler, Jodi A. Scheffler, Shu-Sheng Liu, Imran Amin, Shahid Mansoor
Gene 2022 v.820 pp. 146200
Bemisia tabaci, cotton, flavonoids, gene expression regulation, germplasm, gossypol, leaf curling, tetraploidy, transcriptome, transcriptomics
Whitefly inflicts both direct and indirect losses to cotton crop. Whitefly resistant cotton germplasm is a high priority and considered among the best possible solutions to mitigate this issue. In this study, we evaluated cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD) resistant cotton line Mac7 under whitefly stress. Furthermore, we utilized the already available transcriptome data of Mac7 concerning whitefly stress to elucidate associated mechanisms and identify functionally important genes in cotton. In transcriptomic data analysis, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found involved in complex relay pathways, activated on whitefly exposure. The response implicates signalling through resistance genes (R-genes), MAPK, ROS, VQs or RLKs, transcription factors, which leads to the activation of defence responses including, Ca²⁺messengers, phytohormonal cross-talk, gossypol, flavonoids, PhasiRNA and susceptibility genes (S-genes). The qRT-PCR assay of 10 functionally important genes also showed their involvement in differential responses at 24 and 48 h post whitefly infestation. Briefly, our study helps in understanding the resistant nature of Mac7 under whitefly stress.