Salt tolerance response revealed by RNA-Seq in a diploid halophytic wild relative of sweet potato

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 29;7(1):9624. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09241-x.


Crop wild relatives harbor exotic and novel genetic resources, which hold great potential for crop improvement. Ipomoea imperati is a wild diploid relative of sweet potato with the capability of high salinity tolerance. We compared the transcriptomes of I. imperati under salt stress vs. control to identify candidate genes and pathways involved in salt response. De novo assembly produced 67,911 transcripts with a high depth of coverage. A total of 39,902 putative genes were assigned annotations, and 936 and 220 genes involved in salt response in roots and leaves, respectively. Functional analysis indicated a whole system response during salt stress in I. imperati, which included four metabolic processes: sensory initiation, transcriptional reprogramming, cellular protein component change, and cellular homeostasis regulation. We identified a number of candidate genes involved in the ABA signaling pathway, as well as transcription factors, transporters, antioxidant enzymes, and enzymes associated with metabolism of synthesis and catalysis. Furthermore, two membrane transporter genes, including vacuole cation/proton exchanger and inositol transporter, were considered to play important roles in salt tolerance. This study provided valuable information not only for understanding the genetic basis of ecological adaptation but also for future application in sweet potato and other crop improvements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Ipomoea / drug effects*
  • Ipomoea / genetics
  • Ipomoea / physiology*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / physiology
  • Salt Tolerance*
  • Salts / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Salts