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N6‐methyladenosine RNA modification regulates cotton drought response in a Ca2+ and ABA‐dependent manner

Li, Baoqi; Zhang, Mengmeng; Sun, Weinan; Yue, Dandan; Ma, Yizan; Zhang, Boyang; Duan, Lingfeng; Wang, Maojun; Lindsey, Keith; Nie, Xinhui; Zhang, Xianlong; Yang, Xiyan

N6‐methyladenosine RNA modification regulates cotton drought response in a Ca2+ and ABA‐dependent manner Thumbnail


Baoqi Li

Mengmeng Zhang

Weinan Sun

Dandan Yue

Yizan Ma

Boyang Zhang

Lingfeng Duan

Maojun Wang

Xinhui Nie

Xianlong Zhang

Xiyan Yang


N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most prevalent internal modification present in mRNAs, and is considered to participate in a range of developmental and biological processes. Drought response is highly regulated at the genomic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. However, the biological function and regulatory mechanism of m6A modification in the drought stress response is still poorly understood. We generated a transcriptome-wide m6A map using drought-resistant and drought-sensitive varieties of cotton under different water deficient conditions to uncover patterns of m6A methylation in cotton response to drought stress. The results reveal that m6A represents a common modification and exhibit dramatic changes in distribution during drought stress. More 5'UTR m6A was deposited in the drought-resistant variety and was associated with a positive effect on drought resistance by regulating mRNA abundance. Interestingly, we observed that increased m6A abundance was associated with increased mRNA abundance under drought, contributing to drought resistance, and vice versa. The demethylase GhALKBH10B was found to decrease m6A levels, facilitating the mRNA decay of ABA signal-related genes (GhZEP, GhNCED4 and GhPP2CA) and Ca2+ signal-related genes (GhECA1, GhCNGC4, GhANN1 and GhCML13), and mutation of GhALKBH10B enhanced drought resistance at seedling stage in cotton. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of two Ca2+-related genes, GhECA1 and GhCNGC4, reduced drought resistance with the decreased m6A enrichment on silenced genes in cotton. Collectively, we reveal a novel mechanism of post-transcriptional modification involved in affecting drought response in cotton, by mediating m6A methylation on targeted transcripts in the ABA and Ca2+ signalling transduction pathways.


Li, B., Zhang, M., Sun, W., Yue, D., Ma, Y., Zhang, B., …Yang, X. (2023). N6‐methyladenosine RNA modification regulates cotton drought response in a Ca2+ and ABA‐dependent manner. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 21(6), 1270-1285.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 24, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2023
Publication Date 2023-06
Deposit Date May 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 24, 2023
Journal Plant Biotechnology Journal
Print ISSN 1467-7644
Electronic ISSN 1467-7652
Publisher Association of Applied Biologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 6
Pages 1270-1285


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (2.7 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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