Comparative transcriptome profiling of freezing stress responses in loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) fruitlets
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.) is an important subtropical, commercial fruit in China. It blossoms during autumn and winter in most areas of China and its fruitlets usually suffer from freezing stress. However, studies about the mechanisms underlying freezing stress in loquat are very limited. The gene expression profiles of loquat fruitlets subjected to freezing (G2 library) versus non-treated ones (G1 library) were investigated using Illumina sequencing technology to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and identify the genes that play vital roles in the freezing stress response. The results showed that approximately 157.63 million reads in total were obtained from freeze-treated and non-treated loquat fruitlets. These reads were assembled into 87,379 unigenes with an average length of 710 bp and an N50 of 1,200 bp. After comparing the profiles obtained from the G1 and G2 libraries, 2,892 differentially expressed genes were identified, of which 1,883 were up-regulated and 1,009 were down-regulated in the treated samples compared to non-treated ones. These unigenes showed significant differences in expression for carbohydrate transport and metabolism, amino acid metabolism, energy metabolism, and lipid metabolism, which are involved in defense against freezing stress. Glycolysis/gluconeogenesis was one of the most significantly regulated pathways. Freezing also significantly damaged the membrane system of loquat fruitlets, and several defense mechanisms were induced. Some selected genes related to low temperature resistance were validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The results revealed many genes and pathways that are part of freezing resistance processes and expand our understanding of the complex molecular events involved in freezing stress.
KeywordsDifferentially expressed gene Freezing stress Fruitlet Loquat Transcriptome
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31101530); Key Project for New Variety Breeding in Agriculture of Zhejiang Province (Grant No. 2016C02052-3), the Local Science and Technology Cooperation Project of Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Grant No. LS20140003), and the Program for Young Science Technology Talent Cultivation of Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
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