The Wheat GENIE3 Network Provides Biologically-Relevant Information in Polyploid Wheat

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Harrington, S. A., Backhaus, A. E., Singh, A., Hassani-Pak, K. and Uauy, C. 2020. The Wheat GENIE3 Network Provides Biologically-Relevant Information in Polyploid Wheat. G3. 10 (10), pp. 3675-3686.

AuthorsHarrington, S. A., Backhaus, A. E., Singh, A., Hassani-Pak, K. and Uauy, C.

Gene regulatory networks are powerful tools which facilitate hypothesis generation and candidate gene discovery. However, the extent to which the network predictions are biologically relevant is often unclear. Recently a GENIE3 network which predicted targets of wheat transcription factors was produced. Here we used an independent RNA-Seq dataset to test the predictions of the wheat GENIE3 network for the senescence-regulating transcription factor NAM-A1 (TraesCS6A02G108300). We re-analyzed the RNA-Seq data against the RefSeqv1.0 genome and identified a set of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the wild-type and nam-a1 mutant which recapitulated the known role of NAM-A1 in senescence and nutrient remobilisation. We found that the GENIE3-predicted target genes of NAM-A1 overlap significantly with the DEGs, more than would be expected by chance. Based on high levels of overlap between GENIE3-predicted target genes and the DEGs, we identified candidate senescence regulators. We then explored genome-wide trends in the network related to polyploidy and found that only homeologous transcription factors are likely to share predicted targets in common. However, homeologs which vary in expression levels across tissues are less likely to share predicted targets than those that do not, suggesting that they may be more likely to act in distinct pathways. This work demonstrates that the wheat GENIE3 network can provide biologically-relevant predictions of transcription factor targets, which can be used for candidate gene prediction and for global analyses of transcription factor function. The GENIE3 network has now been integrated into the KnetMiner web application, facilitating its use in future studies.

KeywordsGene networks; GENIE3; Wheat; Sequence; RNA-Seq; Polyploidy
Year of Publication2020
Journal citation10 (10), pp. 3675-3686
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDesigning Future Wheat - WP1 - Increased efficiency and sustainability
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online01 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Aug 2020
PublisherGenetics Society of America (GSA)

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