Sweet potato, a hexaploid species lacking a reference genome, is one of the most important crops in many developing countries, where abiotic stresses are a primary cause of reduction of crop yield. Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are multifunctional enzymes that play important roles in oxidative stress tolerance and cellular detoxification.A total of 42 putative full-length GST genes were identified from two local transcriptome databases and validated by molecular cloning and Sanger sequencing. Sequence and intraspecific phylogenetic analyses revealed extensive differentiation in their coding sequences and divided them into eight subfamilies. Interspecific phylogenetic and comparative analyses indicated that most examined GST paralogs might originate and diverge before the speciation of sweet potato. Results from large-scale RNA-seq and quantitative real-time PCR experiments exhibited extensive variation in gene-expression profiles across different tissues and varieties, which implied strong evolutionary divergence in their gene-expression regulation. Moreover, we performed five manipulated stress experiments and uncovered highly divergent stress-response patterns of sweet potato GST genes in aboveground and underground tissues.Our study identified a large number of sweet potato GST genes, systematically investigated their evolutionary diversification, and provides new insights into the GST-mediated stress-response mechanisms in this worldwide crop.
Journal: BMC plant biology