Genome-scale transcriptome analysis of the desert poplar, Populus euphratica

Qiang Qiu, Tao Ma, Quanjun Hu, Bingbing Liu, Yuxia Wu, Haihong Zhou, Qian Wang, Juan Wang, Jianquan Liu
Tree Physiology 2011, 31 (4): 452-61
Populus euphratica is well-adapted to extreme desert environments and is an important model species for studying the effects of abiotic stresses on trees. Here we present the first deep transcriptomic analysis of this species. To maximize representation of conditional transcripts, mRNA was obtained from living tissues of desert-grown trees and two types of callus (salt-stressed and unstressed). De novo assembly generated 86,777 Unigenes using Solexa sequence data. These sequences covered 92% of previously reported P. euphratica expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and 90% of the TIGR poplar ESTs, and a total of 58,499 high-quality unique sequences were annotated by BLAST similarity searches against public databases. We found that 27% of the total Unigenes were differentially expressed (up- or down-regulated) in response to salt stress in P. euphratica callus. These differentially expressed genes are mainly involved in transport, transcription, cellular communication and metabolism. In addition, we found that numerous putative genes involved in ABA regulation and biosynthesis were also differentially regulated. This study represents the deepest transcriptomic and gene-annotation analysis of P. euphratica to date. The genetic knowledge acquired should be very useful for future studies of the molecular adaptation of this tree species to abiotic stress and facilitate genetic manipulation of other poplar species.

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