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Role of a cotton endoreduplication-related gene, GaTOP6B, in response to drought stress

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Cotton GaTOP6B is involved in cellular endoreduplication and a positive response to drought stress via promoting plant leaf and root growth.

Drought is deemed as one of adverse conditions that could cause substantial reductions in crop yields worldwide. Since cotton exhibits a moderate-tolerant phenotype under water-deficit conditions, the plant could therefore be used to characterize potential new genes regulating drought tolerance in crop plants. In this work, GaTOP6B, encoding DNA topoisomerase VI subunit B, was identified in Asian cotton (Gossypium arboreum). Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) and overexpression (OE) were used to investigate the biological function of GaTOP6B in G. arboreum and Arabidopsis thaliana under drought stress. The GaTOP6B-silencing plants showed a reduced ploidy level, and displayed a compromised tolerance phenotype including lowered relative water content (RWC), decreased proline content and antioxidative enzyme activity, and an increased malondialdehyde (MDA) content under drought stress. GaTOP6B-overexpressing Arabidopsis lines, however, had increased ploidy levels, and were more tolerant to drought treatment, associated with improved RWC maintenance, higher proline accumulation, and reduced stomatal aperture under drought stress. Transcriptome analysis showed that genes involved in the processes like cell cycle, transcription and signal transduction, were substantially up-regulated in GaTOP6B-overexpressing Arabidopsis, promoting plant growth and development. More specifically, under drought stress, the genes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as phenylpropanoid, starch and sucrose were selectively enhanced to improve tolerance in plants. Taken together, the results demonstrated that GaTOP6B could coordinately regulate plant leaf and root growth via cellular endoreduplication, and positively respond to drought stress. Thus, GaTOP6B could be a competent candidate gene for improvement of drought tolerance in crop species.

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Differentially expressed genes


Open reading frame


Relative water content


Topoisomerase VIB


Virus-induced gene silencing


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This work was financially supported by the Program for Science and Technology Innovation Talents in Universities of Henan Province (No. 19HASTIT014), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31600995) and the fund of the Science and Technology Cooperation Projects of Henan Province of China (No. 152106000055).

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Correspondence to Fang Wei, Baoming Tian or Jinyong Huang.

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Supplementary material 1 Bioinformatic analysis of GaTOP6B (JPEG 149 kb)

Supplementary material 2 Subcellular localization of GaTOP6B (JPEG 16 kb)


Supplementary material 3 Characterization of CLA-silencing plantlets and GaTOP6B-overexpressing Arabidopsis (JPEG 36 kb)


Supplementary material 4 Survival rate and DAB staining and chlorophyll content in GaTOP6B-silencing cotton under drought stress (JPEG 57 kb)

Supplementary material 5 Gene expression analysis (JPEG 209 kb)


Supplementary material 6 COG classification of DEGs in transgenic Arabidopsis compared to WT under 200 mM mannitol treatment (JPEG 57 kb)

Supplementary material 7 (JPEG 62 kb)

Supplementary material 8 (DOC 42 kb)

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Tian, Y., Gu, H., Fan, Z. et al. Role of a cotton endoreduplication-related gene, GaTOP6B, in response to drought stress. Planta 249, 1119–1132 (2019).

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