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Genome-wide identification of the SAUR gene family and screening for SmSAURs involved in root development in Salvia miltiorrhiza

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Key message

SmSAUR4, SmSAUR18, SmSAUR28, SmSAUR37, and SmSAUR38 were probably involved in the auxin-mediated root development in Salvia miltiorrhiza.


Salvia miltiorrhiza is a widely utilized medicinal plant in China. Its roots and rhizomes are the main medicinal portions and are closely related to the quality of this herb. Previous studies have revealed that auxin plays pivotal roles in S. miltiorrhiza root development. Whether small auxin-up RNA genes (SAURs), which are crucial early auxin response genes, are involved in auxin-mediated root development in S. miltiorrhiza is worthy of investigation. In this study, 55 SmSAUR genes in S. miltiorrhiza were identified, and their physical and chemical properties, gene structure, cis-acting elements, and evolutionary relationships were analyzed. The expression levels of SmSAUR genes in different organs of S. miltiorrhiza were detected using RNA-seq combined with qRT‒PCR. The root development of S. miltiorrhiza seedlings was altered by the application of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and Pearson correlation coefficient analysis was conducted to screen SmSAURs that potentially participate in this physiological process. The diameter of primary lateral roots was positively correlated with SmSAUR4. The secondary lateral root number was positively correlated with SmSAUR18 and negatively correlated with SmSAUR4. The root length showed a positive correlation with SmSAUR28 and SmSAUR37 and a negative correlation with SmSAUR38. The fresh root biomass exhibited a positive correlation with SmSAUR38 and a negative correlation with SmSAUR28. The aforementioned SmSAURs were likely involved in auxin-mediated root development in S. miltiorrhiza. Our study provides a comprehensive overview of SmSAURs and provides the groundwork for elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying root morphogenesis in this species.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during the study are accessible in the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) under the accession PRJNA1069646 and accession PRJNA1069996.


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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31700257), Key project at central government level: the ability establishment of sustainable use for valuable Chinese medicine resources (2060302), Independent Innovation Fund Project of Agricultural Science and Technology in Jiangsu Province (CX(23)3113), Science and Technology Development Project of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Jiangsu Province (MS2022154), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LR21H280002), the Major Science and Technology Projects of Breeding New Varieties of Agriculture in Zhejiang Province (2021C02074), and Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX22_3473).

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SCZ and DFY conceptualized and designed the work. WW, YWZ, and ZYZ conducted the experiments. WW, LQ, and YYG contributed to data analysis. WW and SCZ drafted the manuscript. RM and HGZ provided critical comments to the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shuncang Zhang.

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The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Communicated by Ting-Ting Yuan.

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Wang, W., Zheng, Y., Qiu, L. et al. Genome-wide identification of the SAUR gene family and screening for SmSAURs involved in root development in Salvia miltiorrhiza. Plant Cell Rep 43, 165 (2024).

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