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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2021, Vol. 20 Issue (8): 2043-2055    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63220-8
Special Issue: 玉米遗传育种合辑Maize Genetics · Breeding · Germplasm Resources
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Comparative transcriptome analysis of different nitrogen responses in low-nitrogen sensitive and tolerant maize genotypes
DU Qing-guo1, 2*, YANG Juan1*, Shah SYED MUHAMMAD SADIQ1, YANG Rong-xin1, YU Jing-juan2, LI Wen-xue
1 National Engineering Laboratory for Crop Molecular Breeding/Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, P.R.China
2 State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P.R.China
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Although previous researches have greatly increased our general knowledge on plant responses to nitrogen (N) stress, a comprehensive understanding of the different responses in crop genotypes is still needed.  This study evaluated 304 maize accessions for low-N tolerance under field conditions, and selected the low-N sensitive Ye478 and low-N tolerant Qi319 for further investigations.  After a 5-day low-N treatment, the typical N-deficient phenotype with yellowing older leaves was observed in Ye478 but not in Qi319.  After the 5-day low-N stress, 16 RNA libraries from leaf and root of Ye478 and Qi319 were generated.  The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the root of Qi319 up-regulated by special N deficiency were mainly enriched in energy-related metabolic pathways, including tricarboxylic acid metabolic process and nicotinamide metabolic process.  Consistent with yellowing older leaves only observed in Ye478, the special N deficiency-responsive DEGs related to thylakoid, chloroplast, photosynthetic membrane, and chloroplast stroma pathways were repressed by low-N stress in Ye478.  A total of 216 transcription factors (TFs), including ZmNLP5, were identified as special N deficiency-responsive TFs between Qi319 and Ye478, indicating the importance of transcriptional regulation of N stress-responsive pathway in different tolerance to low-N stress between crop genotypes.  In addition, 15 miRNAs were identified as DEGs between Qi319 and Ye478.  Taken together, this study contributes to the understanding of the genetic variations and molecular basis of low-N tolerance in maize.
Keywords:  maize        genotype        nitrogen        RNA-seq        differentially expressed genes  
Received: 05 February 2020   Accepted:
Fund: This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Agriculture of China for Transgenic Research (2018ZX0800916B), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31861143004) and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence LI Wen-xue, Tel: +86-10-82105799, E-mail:    
About author:  DU Qing-guo, E-mail:; YANG Juan, E-mail:; * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

DU Qing-guo, YANG Juan, Shah SYED MUHAMMAD SADIQ, YANG Rong-xin, YU Jing-juan, LI Wen-xue. 2021. Comparative transcriptome analysis of different nitrogen responses in low-nitrogen sensitive and tolerant maize genotypes. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 20(8): 2043-2055.

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