Monoecious Mutant Reveals New Insights into Male and Female Inflorescence Development in the Chinese Bayberry (Morella rubra)

in HortScience

To identify the dynamic differences in transcriptome and gene expression in chinese bayberry flowers of different sex types, the female ‘Fugong-1’ (WT) and its monoecious mutant (MT) were used as experimental materials. Using Illumina HiSeq™ 2500, flowers at the inflorescence germination, inflorescence elongation, and initial flowering stages were sequenced by RNA-seq technology and 6 libraries were obtained. After sequence assemble, 84,945 unigenes greater than 200 bp were found and the total length was 71.66 Mb. Transcriptomic expression analysis of the six libraries indicated that there was only 297 genes showed different expression at the inflorescence germination stage between MT and WT, the difference of which was the minimum. At the elongation stage and the initial flowering stage, such numbers increased to 787 and 2722, respectively. Gene ontology (GO) functional enrichment analysis revealed that the enriched differentially expressed genes (DEGs) included those related with transcription in DNA-templated (GO: 0006355), pollen exine formation (GO: 0010584), plasma membrane (GO: 0005886), sequence-specific DNA binding transcription factor activity (GO: 0003700), and 2-alkenal reductase [NAD(P)] activity (GO: 0032440) GO categories, etc. Among these processes, pollen exine formation plays an important role in pollen cell wall synthesis and sporopollen participates in the biosynthesis of sporopollenin. High expression levels of these related genes were closely related to the MT’s male flower traits during the initial flowering stage, which resulted in the male characteristics in MT flower. This study provides important foundation for further mining important genes and regulating factors controlling the sex differentiation of flowers in chinese bayberry.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201203089), and the Basic Research Projects of Fujian Provincial Public Research Institute (2016R1013-1, 2014R1014-12).

These authors contributed equally.

Corresponding author. E-mail: 7901817@sina.com.

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    Inflorescence for transcriptome sequencing of ‘Fugong-1’ and its monoecious mutant (MT). (A) inflorescence germination stage of WT; (B) inflorescence elongation stage of WT; (C) initial flowering stage of WT; (D) inflorescence germination stage of MT; (E) inflorescence elongation stage of MT; (F) initial flowering stage of MT; white bar = 2 mm.

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    Characteristics of homology search of chinese bayberry unigenes. (A) E-value istribution of BLASTX hits for each unigene; (B) number of UniGenes matching the 10 top species using BLASTx in the nr database.

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    Gene ontology (GO) classification of the chinese bayberry unigene library.

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    Quantitative polymerase chain reaction detection results of four related genes in MT different stages.

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