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Comparative transcriptome between male fertile and male sterile alfalfa (Medicago varia)

Abstract

Male sterility is an important factor in improving crop quality and yield through heterosis breeding. In this study, we analyzed the transcriptomes of male fertile (MF) and male sterile (MS) alfalfa flower buds using the Illumina HiSeq™ 4000 platform. A total of 54.05 million clean reads were generated and assembled into 65,777 unigenes with an average length of 874 bp. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the MF and MS flowers at three stages of pollen development were identified, and there were 3832, 5678 and 5925 DEGs respectively in stages 1, 2 and 3. GO and KEGG functional enrichment analysis revealed 12, 12, 6 and 12 key branch-point genes involved in circadian rhythm, transcription factors, pollen development and flavonoid biosynthesis. Our findings provide novel insights into the mechanism of male sterility in alfalfa.

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Acknowledgements

The authors express their appreciation to the reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 31260576), the Inner Mongolia Natural Science Foundation Project (NO. 2018LH03028), and the Doctor foundation of Baotou Medical College (NO. BSJJ201810).

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Conceived and designed the experiments: JW and FLS. Performed RNA extraction and qRT-PCR: JW and BX. Collected and analyzed the data: JW, FT, and BX. Wrote the paper JW and FLS. Edited the manuscript: FT, CPG, and XG. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Fengling Shi.

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Wang, J., Tang, F., Gao, C. et al. Comparative transcriptome between male fertile and male sterile alfalfa (Medicago varia). Physiol Mol Biol Plants 27, 1487–1498 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12298-021-01026-x

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Keywords

  • Male sterility
  • Male fertile
  • Alfalfa
  • RNA-seq
  • Differentially expressed genes