Paper on a collaborative project with Dr. Aravind Kumar Konda from the Division of Plant Biotechnology, ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur, India.
Chickpea is a premier food legume crop with high nutritional quality and attains prime importance in the current era of 795 million people being undernourished worldwide. Chickpea production encounters setbacks due to various stresses and understanding the role of key transcription factors (TFs) involved in multiple stresses becomes inevitable. We have recently identified a multi-stress responsive WRKY TF in chickpea. The present study was conducted to predict the structure of WRKY TF to identify the DNA-interacting residues and decipher DNA-protein interactions. Comparative modelling approach produced 3D model of the WRKY TF with good stereochemistry, local/global quality and further revealed W19, R20, K21, and Y22 motifs within a vicinity of 5 Å to the DNA amongst R18, G23, Q24, K25, Y36, Y37, R38 and K47 and these positions were equivalent to the 2LEX WRKY domain of Arabidopsis. Molecular simulations analysis of reference protein PDB ID 2LEX, along with Car-WRKY TF modelled structure with the DNA coordinates derived from PDB ID 2LEX and docked using HADDOCK were executed. Root Mean Square (RMS) Deviation and RMS Fluctuation values yielded consistently stable trajectories over 50 ns simulation. Strengthening the obtained results, neither radius of gyration, distance and total energy showed any signs of DNA-WRKY complex falling apart nor any significant dissociation event over 50 ns run. Therefore, the study provides first insights into the structural properties of multi-stress responsive WRKY TF-DNA complex in chickpea, enabling genome wide identification of TF binding sites and thereby deciphers their gene regulatory networks.