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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Identification of rapidly induced genes in the response of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) to water deficit and abscisic acid

Xiaoyun Li1, Jiabao Lu1, Shuai Liu1, Xu Liu2, Yingying Lin1 and Ling Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Biotechnology for Plant Development, College of Life Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, P R China

2 Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Science, Guangzhou 510650, P R China

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:58  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-58

Published: 26 June 2014



Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is an important crop, but droughts often affect peanut production. There is a lack of genomic information available for peanut; therefore, little is known about the molecular basis of its drought stress response.


Previously, we found that peanut stomata close rapidly during water deficit and in response to abscisic acid (ABA) treatment, and many genes show changes in their expression levels. To screen for candidate genes involved in the water deficit response, we used the Illumina HiSeq2000/MiSeq sequencing platform to conduct a global transcriptome analysis of peanut seedlings under water deficit with or without an ABA pretreatment. Three peanut tissues (leaves, roots, and stems) collected at each of three developmental stages (four-leaf, flowering, and podding stages) were used to construct sequence libraries. Then, 4.96 × 107 raw sequence reads were generated and the high quality reads were assembled into 47,842 unigenes. We analyzed these sequence libraries to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) under water deficit with or without ABA pretreatment. In total, 621 genes were induced rapidly (≥1.5 fold change compared with control) under water deficit, 2,665 genes were induced rapidly under water deficit + ABA pretreatment, and 279 genes overlapped between water deficit and water deficit + ABA pretreatment. Of the 279 overlapping genes, 264 showed the same expression pattern and 15 showed opposite expression patterns. Among the DEGs, 257 were highly induced (>5 fold) by water deficit + ABA pretreatment, while 19 were highly induced (>5 fold) by water deficit alone. The genes induced under water deficit + ABA pretreatment included 100 putative transcription factor (TF) genes, while those induced under water deficit alone included only 22 putative TF genes. To validate the transcriptome results, we conducted quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses to quantify the transcript levels of nine candidate genes.


The DEGs results show that many genes are rapidly induced in peanut in response to water deficit without or with ABA pretreatment. The results indicate that the main drought response mechanisms in peanut function through an ABA-dependent pathway. Our data provide a comprehensive sequence resource for molecular genetics research on peanut stress responses.

Arachis hypogaea; Transcriptome; Water deficit; Abscisic acid (ABA)