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Genome-wide identification and characterization of aquaporin gene family in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.).


Plant aquaporins are a large and diverse family of water channel proteins that are essential for several physiological processes in living organisms. Numerous studies have linked plant aquaporins with a plethora of processes, such as nutrient acquisition, CO2 transport, plant growth and development, and response to abiotic stresses. However, little is known about this protein family in common bean. Here, we present a genome-wide identification of the aquaporin gene family in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), a legume crop essential for human nutrition. We identified 41 full-length coding aquaporin sequences in the common bean genome, divided by phylogenetic analysis into five sub-families (PIPs, TIPs, NIPs, SIPs and XIPs). Residues determining substrate specificity of aquaporins (i.e., NPA motifs and ar/R selectivity filter) seem conserved between common bean and other plant species, allowing inference of substrate specificity for these proteins. Thanks to the availability of RNA-sequencing datasets, expression levels in different organs and in leaves of wild and domesticated bean accessions were evaluated. Three aquaporins (PvTIP1;1, PvPIP2;4 and PvPIP1;2) have the overall highest mean expressions, with PvTIP1;1 having the highest expression among all aquaporins. We performed an EST database mining to identify drought-responsive aquaporins in common bean. This analysis showed a significant increase in expression for PvTIP1;1 in drought stress conditions compared to well-watered environments. The pivotal role suggested for PvTIP1;1 in regulating water homeostasis and drought stress response in the common bean should be verified by further field experimentation under drought stress.

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