In silico analysis of the effect of heat and drought stress on expression of regulatory transcription factors, and the genes involved in different metabolic pathways
Plants never encounter stress factors, whether biotic or abiotic, in sequence. Mostly they have to face multiple environmental factors in suboptimal level (stressful) at the same time. As a result the strategy of the plant to survive in such situations, demands handling of multiple stresses at the same time, by efficient management of the genetic repertoire that the plant has. The plant achieves this by altering expression of transcription factors that regulate the activity of different genes, whose products themselves play the structural and functional roles. In contrast to the traditional genetic analysis, which involves the study of a single or at the most, a few genes at a time, studies involving response of plants to stress should evaluate the expression of multiple genes concurrently. Microarrays are used for studying the effect of specific treatments on the expression of entire genome. Since such studies involve thousands of genes, conducting such experiments and analysis of the results, depends heavily on computational resources. Different kinds of software are used at various stages of such experiments. This fusion of biology with computer science enables the understanding of the effect of a particular treatment, on the functioning of the cells in more meaningful way. In the present study, differentially regulated genes under heat and drought stress from different microarray studies were analyzed to assess the kind of metabolic pathways that are specifically altered (promoted or sacrificed) under heat and drought stress, and, the transcription factor families which have the governing role in such regulatory processes. It was observed that, the expression of genes related to metabolism, specifically in the cell organelles like plastids and mitochondria is differentially regulated. Some transcription factor families like AP2-EREBP, NAC, C2H2 and MYB play more important role in the two kinds of stress conditions. For the study online resources like microarray data repositories and analytical tools were used.