Gene regulatory networks associated with lateral root and nodule development in soybean
Legume plants such as soybean produce two major types of root lateral organs, lateral roots and root nodules. A robust computational framework was developed to predict potential gene regulatory networks (GRNs) associated with root lateral organ development in soybean. A genome-scale expression dataset was obtained from soybean root nodules and lateral roots and subjected to biclustering using QUBIC. Biclusters (BCs) and transcription factor (TF) genes with enriched expression in lateral root tissues were converged using different network inference algorithms to predict high confident regulatory modules that are repeatedly retrieved in different methods. The ranked combination of results from all different network inference algorithms into one ensemble solution identified 21 GRN modules of 182 co-regulated genes networks potentially involved in root lateral organ development stages in soybean. The pipeline correctly predicted previously known nodule- and LR-associated TFs including the expected hierarchical relationships. The results revealed high scorer AP2, GRF5, and C3H co-regulated GRN modules during early nodule development; and GRAS, LBD41, and ARR18 co-regulated GRN modules late during nodule maturation. Knowledge from this work supported by experimental validation in the future is expected to help determine key gene targets for biotechnological strategies to optimize nodule formation and enhance nitrogen fixation.
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