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Gene expression profile analysis of Ligon lintless-1 (Li1) mutant reveals important genes and pathways in cotton leaf and fiber development

Mingquan Ding, Yurong Jiang, Yuefen Cao, Lifeng Lin, Shae He, Wei Zhou, Junkang Rong
Gene 2014 February 10, 535 (2): 273-85
24279997
Ligon lintless-1 (Li1) is a monogenic dominant mutant of Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton) with a phenotype of impaired vegetative growth and short lint fibers. Despite years of research involving genetic mapping and gene expression profile analysis of Li1 mutant ovule tissues, the gene remains uncloned and the underlying pathway of cotton fiber elongation is still unclear. In this study, we report the whole genome-level deep-sequencing analysis of leaf tissues of the Li1 mutant. Differentially expressed genes in leaf tissues of mutant versus wild-type (WT) plants are identified, and the underlying pathways and potential genes that control leaf and fiber development are inferred. The results show that transcription factors AS2, YABBY5, and KANDI-like are significantly differentially expressed in mutant tissues compared with WT ones. Interestingly, several fiber development-related genes are found in the downregulated gene list of the mutant leaf transcriptome. These genes include heat shock protein family, cytoskeleton arrangement, cell wall synthesis, energy, H2O2 metabolism-related genes, and WRKY transcription factors. This finding suggests that the genes are involved in leaf morphology determination and fiber elongation. The expression data are also compared with the previously published microarray data of Li1 ovule tissues. Comparative analysis of the ovule transcriptomes of Li1 and WT reveals that a number of pathways important for fiber elongation are enriched in the downregulated gene list at different fiber development stages (0, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18dpa). Differentially expressed genes identified in both leaf and fiber samples are aligned with cotton whole genome sequences and combined with the genetic fine mapping results to identify a list of candidate genes for Li1.

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