A genome-wide analysis of SWEET gene family in cotton and their expressions under different stresses

[Background] The SWEET (Sugars will eventually be exported transporters) gene family plays multiple roles in plant physiological activities and development process. It participates in reproductive development and in the process of sugar transport and absorption, plant senescence and stress responses and plant-pathogen interaction. However, the comprehensive analysis of SWEET genes has not been reported in cotton.

[Results] In this study, we identified 22, 31, 55 and 60 SWEET genes from the sequenced genomes of Gossypium arboreum, G. raimondii, G. hirsutum and G. barbadense, respectively. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that the SWEET genes could be divided into four groups, which were further classified into 14 sub-clades. Further analysis of chromosomal location, synteny analysis and gene duplication suggested that the orthologs showed a good collinearity and segmental duplication events played a crucial role in the expansion of the family in cotton. Specific MtN3_slv domains were highly conserved between Arabidopsis and cotton by exon-intron organization and motif analysis. In addition, the expression pattern in different tissues indicated that the duplicated genes in cotton might have acquired new functions as a result of sub-functionalization or neo-functionalization. The expression pattern of SWEET genes showed that the different genes were induced by diverse stresses. The identification and functional analysis of SWEET genes in cotton may provide more candidate genes for genetic modification.

[Conclusion] SWEET genes were classified into four clades in cotton. The expression patterns suggested that the duplicated genes might have experienced a functional divergence. This work provides insights into the evolution of SWEET genes and more candidates for specific genetic modification, which will be useful in future research.

A genome-wide analysis of SWEET gene family in cotton and their expressions under different stresses
ZHAO Lanjie, YAO Jinbo, CHEN Wei, LI Yan, LÜ Youjun, GUO Yan, WANG Junyi, YUAN Li, LIU Ziyang and ZHANG Yongshan

Journal of Cotton Research. 2018; 1:7.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s42397-018-0007-9