Horticulture, Environment, and Biotechnology

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 711–720 | Cite as

Identification of key leaf color-associated genes in Gleditsia sinensis using bioinformatics

  • Chong Wu
  • Xuemei Yang
  • Lijuan Feng
  • Fei Wang
  • Haixia Tang
  • Yanlei YinEmail author
Research Report


This study aimed to explore leaf-color associated genes in Gleditsia sinensis (G. sinensis) using bioinformatics methods. Green, purple, and yellow leaves were collected from G. sinensis in Shandong Institute of Pomology. Total RNA was collected from leaves and subjected to transcriptome sequencing. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified among the different colored leaves using RSEM method followed by functional enrichment analysis. Finally, qRT-PCR analysis was used to assess the expression of several pigment-related genes enriched in significant GO or KEGG terms. A total of 10,953, 14,961, and 8916 DEGs were identified between green vs. purple leaves, green vs. yellow leaves, and purple vs. yellow leaves, respectively. Among the green vs. purple leaves, DEGs were significantly enriched in terms of iron ion binding, tetrapyrrole binding, (e.g., CYP26A1, CYP97A3, and CYP86A1), and starch and sucrose metabolism (e.g., TPS and VTC2). DEGs for green/purple vs. yellow groups were markedly enriched in circadian rhythm-plant KEGG pathway, including ELF3 and CHS. Compared with their expression in green leaves, CYP26A1, CYP97A3, CYP86A1, TPS and VTC2 were significantly downregulated in purple leaves, while downregulation of ELF3 and upregulation of CHS was detected in yellow leaves. CYPs (e.g., CYP26A1 and CYP97A3) might play critical roles in the determination of leaf color in G. sinensis via iron ion and tetrapyrrole binding. In addition, genes related to starch and sucrose metabolism (e.g., TPS and VTC2), and circadian rhythms (e.g., ELF3 and CHS) might also be involved in controlling leaf color.


Gleditsia sinensis Leaf color Differentially expressed genes Cytochrome Iron ion binding 



This work was supported by the Shandong Natural Science Foundation (No. ZR2018LC002), Shandong Provincial Key Research and Development Program (No. 2018JHZ003), Project grant from Shandong academy of agricultural youth fund (No. 2016YQN31) and Shandong Institute of Pomology fund (No. 2016KY09).

Author contributions

CW and XY contributed to the study design, conducting the study, data analysis, and writing of the manuscript. LF and FW contributed to the data collection and conducting the study. HT and YY contributed to data interpretation and discussion. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Horticultural Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chong Wu
    • 1
  • Xuemei Yang
    • 1
  • Lijuan Feng
    • 1
  • Fei Wang
    • 1
  • Haixia Tang
    • 1
  • Yanlei Yin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Shandong Institute of PomologyTai’an CityChina

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