Species-specific genes account for the differences in floral transition between continuous-flowering and once-flowering roses

  • Chao Yu
  • Xuelian Guo
  • Le Luo
  • Huitang Pan
  • Qixiang ZhangEmail author
Original Article


Floral transitions in continuous-flowering Rosa chinensis ‘Old Blush’ and once-flowering R. odorata var. gigantea were analyzed using comparative transcriptome. In total, 3208 and 5825 species-specific unigenes were identified in the transcriptome profiles of ‘Old Blush’ and R. odorata var. gigantea, respectively. Furthermore, these species-specific unigenes were annotated by Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes enrichment analysis, and the Mercator web tool was used to mine vital metabolic processes. The contents of soluble sugar and starch in ‘Old Blush’ were higher than those in R. odorata var. gigantea at each stage during the floral transition process. The soluble sugar content was negatively correlated with the starch content in ‘Old Blush’. Therefore, we concluded that the vegetative-to-reproductive phase transition of ‘Old Blush’ was largely controlled by carbon metabolism, especially trehalose. In contrast, the floral transition of R. odorata var. gigantea was potentially mediated by low temperatures (vernalization) and the hexose-mediated miR156 pathway.


Roses Floral transition Trehalose metabolism Hexose metabolism Vernalization Transcriptome 



Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes


Granule-bound starch synthase 1




Vegetative meristem


Floral meristem


Vegetative meristem of secondary axillary bud in Rosa odorata var. gigantea



This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and National Natural Science Foundation of China (31600565). We thank Yuyong Yang (Kunming Yang Chinese Rose Gardening Co., Ltd.) and Haiquan Huang (Southwest Forestry University) for help with sample collection. We also thank the OmicShare forum, a free online platform for data analysis (

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13562_2018_483_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (719 kb)
Supplemental Fig S1 Morphological characteristics of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) at various developmental stages in Rosa chinensis ‘Old Blush’ and R. odorata var. gigantea. Stages were identified by a histological analysis. (a) The upper panel represented the characteristics of the SAM during the floral transition process of R. chinensis ‘Old Blush.’ (b) The lower panel displayed the characteristics of the SAM during the floral transition process and secondary vegetative axillary buds of R. odorata var. gigantea. The morphology of the SAM was narrow in the vegetative meristem (VM), and the SAM became broad with a pronounced conical appearance, indicating the phase transition from VM to pre-floral meristem (TM). Then, the SAM sequentially differentiated to form sepal primordia, leading to the floral meristem (FM) stage. The secondary axillary buds of R. odorata var. gigantea maintained vegetative growth after flowering, which was identified as secondary vegetative meristem (VM-DHY). Black bar: 50 μm. (JPEG 719 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (604 kb)
Supplemental Fig S2 Venn diagrams of the number of unigenes from R. chinensis ‘Old Blush’ (a) and R. odorata var. gigantea (b) annotated by BLASTx searches against protein databases. (JPEG 604 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (712 kb)
Supplemental Fig S3 All unigenes from R. chinensis ‘Old Blush’ (a) and R. odorata var. gigantea (b) were searched against the KOG database to predict and classify possible functions. (JPEG 712 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (3.7 mb)
Supplemental Fig S4 Scatterplot of enriched GO terms (FDR < 0.05) in the molecular function and cellular component categories based on species-specific unigenes from the transcriptomes of R. chinensis ‘Old Blush’ (a, c) and R. odorata var. gigantea (b, d). Bubble colors indicated the p-values for GO terms; bubble sizes indicated the frequencies of GO terms in the underlying GOA database. (JPEG 3750 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (442 kb)
Supplemental Fig. S5 Soluble sugar and starch contents at different developmental stages of R. chinensis ‘Old Blush’ (a, b) and R. odorata var. gigantea (c, d). Values were means of three replicates ± SE. (JPEG 442 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM6_ESM.png (13 mb)
Supplemental Fig. S6 RT-qPCR validation of five unigenes from ‘Old Blush’ (A–E) and R. odorata var. gigantea (a–e). Expression levels of genes, as determined by RT-qPCR (left side) and RNA-seq (right side). Data from RT-qPCR were presented as means of three replications and bars represent SE. Data from RNA-seq were presented as means of replicates; values were normalized by Log2 transformation. The correlation coefficient (R) for each gene between RT-qPCR and RNA-seq data was shown and was calculated by cor.test in R. (PNG 13362 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (389 kb)
Supplemental Table S1 Species-specific unigenes of R. chinensis ‘Old Blush’ and R. odorata var. gigantea were annotated using the Mercator web tool. (XLSX 388 kb)
13562_2018_483_MOESM8_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Supplemental Table S2 Primers used to assay gene expression by RT-qPCR (XLSX 10 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Ornamental Plants Germplasm Innovation and Molecular Breeding, National Engineering Research Center for Floriculture, Beijing Laboratory of Urban and Rural Ecological Environment, Key Laboratory of Genetics and Breeding in Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants of Ministry of Education, School of Landscape ArchitectureBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina

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