Amino Acid Transporter (AAT) Gene Family in Foxtail Millet (Setaria Italica L.): Widespread Family Expansion, Functional Differentiation, Roles in Quality Formation and Response to Abiotic Stresses
Background: Amino acid transporters (AATs) plays an essential roles in growth and development of plants, including amino acids long-range transport, seed germination, quality formation, responsiveness to pathogenic bacteria and abiotic stress by modulating the transmembrane transfer of amino acids. In this study, we performed a genome-wide screening to analyze the AAT genes in foxtail millet (Setaria italica L.), especially those associated with quality formation and abiotic stresses
... stresses response.Results: A total number of 94 AAT genes were identified and divided into 12 subfamilies by their sequence characteristics and phylogenetic relationship. A large number (58/94, 62%) of AAT genes in foxtail millet were expanded via gene duplication, involving 13 tandem and 12 segmental duplication events. Tandemly duplicated genes had a significant impact on their functional differentiation via sequence variation, structural variation and expression variation. Further comparison in multiple species showed that in addition to paralogous genes, the expression variations of the orthologous AAT genes also contributed to their functional differentiation. The transcriptomic comparison of two millet cultivars verified the direct contribution of the AAT genes such as SiAAP1, SiAAP8, and SiAUX2 in the formation of grain quality. In addition, the qRT-PCR analysis suggested that several AAT genes continuously responded to diverse abiotic stresses, such as SiATLb1, SiANT1. Finally, combined with the previous studies and analysis on sequence characteristics and expression patterns of AAT genes, the possible functions of the foxtail millet AAT genes were predicted.Conclusion: This study for the first time reported the evolutionary features, functional differentiation, roles in the quality formation and response to abiotic stresses of foxtail millet AAT gene family, thus providing a framework for further functional analysis of SiAAT genes, and also contributing to the applications of AAT genes in improving the quality and resistance to abiotic stresses of foxtail millet, and other cereal crops.