Expression quantitative trait locus mapping across water availability environments reveals contrasting associations with genomic features in Arabidopsis

Plant Cell. 2013 Sep;25(9):3266-79. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.115352. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


The regulation of gene expression is crucial for an organism's development and response to stress, and an understanding of the evolution of gene expression is of fundamental importance to basic and applied biology. To improve this understanding, we conducted expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping in the Tsu-1 (Tsushima, Japan) × Kas-1 (Kashmir, India) recombinant inbred line population of Arabidopsis thaliana across soil drying treatments. We then used genome resequencing data to evaluate whether genomic features (promoter polymorphism, recombination rate, gene length, and gene density) are associated with genes responding to the environment (E) or with genes with genetic variation (G) in gene expression in the form of eQTLs. We identified thousands of genes that responded to soil drying and hundreds of main-effect eQTLs. However, we identified very few statistically significant eQTLs that interacted with the soil drying treatment (GxE eQTL). Analysis of genome resequencing data revealed associations of several genomic features with G and E genes. In general, E genes had lower promoter diversity and local recombination rates. By contrast, genes with eQTLs (G) had significantly greater promoter diversity and were located in genomic regions with higher recombination. These results suggest that genomic architecture may play an important a role in the evolution of gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Droughts
  • Environment
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • Genomics*
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Water / physiology


  • Water

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE42408