Proteomics and Metabolomics: Two Emerging Areas for Legume Improvement.
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The crop legumes such as chickpea, common bean, cowpea, peanut, pigeonpea, soybean, etc. are important sources of nutrition and contribute to a significant amount of biological nitrogen fixation (>20 million tons of fixed nitrogen) in agriculture. However, the production of legumes is constrained due to abiotic and biotic stresses. It is therefore imperative to understand the molecular mechanisms of plant response to different stresses and identify key candidate genes regulating tolerance which can be deployed in breeding programs. The information obtained from transcriptomics has facilitated the identification of candidate genes for the given trait of interest and utilizing them in crop breeding programs to improve stress tolerance. However, the mechanisms of stress tolerance are complex due to the influence of multi-genes and post-transcriptional regulations. Furthermore, stress conditions greatly affect gene expression which in turn causes modifications in the composition of plant proteomes and metabolomes. Therefore, functional genomics involving various proteomics and metabolomics approaches have been obligatory for understanding plant stress tolerance. These approaches have also been found useful to unravel different pathways related to plant and seed development as well as symbiosis. Proteome and metabolome profiling using high-throughput based systems have been extensively applied in the model legume species, Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus, as well as in the model crop legume, soybean, to examine stress signaling pathways, cellular and developmental processes and nodule symbiosis. Moreover, the availability of protein reference maps as well as proteomics and metabolomics databases greatly support research and understanding of various biological processes in legumes. Protein-protein interaction techniques, particularly the yeast two-hybrid system have been advantageous for studying symbiosis and stress signaling in legumes. In this review, several studies on proteomics and metabolomics in model and crop legumes have been discussed. Additionally, applications of advanced proteomics and metabolomics approaches have also been included in this review for future applications in legume research. The integration of these ?omics? approaches will greatly support the identification of accurate biomarkers in legume smart breeding programs
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