Comparative transcriptome analysis of short fiber mutants Ligon-lintless 1 and 2 reveals common mechanisms pertinent to fiber elongation in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Matthew K Gilbert, Hee Jin Kim, Yuhong Tang, Marina Naoumkina, David D Fang
PloS One 2014, 9 (4): e95554
Understanding the molecular processes affecting cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) fiber development is important for developing tools aimed at improving fiber quality. Short fiber cotton mutants Ligon-lintless 1 (Li1) and Ligon-lintless 2 (Li2) are naturally occurring, monogenic mutations residing on different chromosomes. Both mutations cause early cessation in fiber elongation. These two mutants serve as excellent model systems to elucidate molecular mechanisms relevant to fiber length development. Previous studies of these mutants using transcriptome analysis by our laboratory and others had been limited by the fact that very large numbers of genes showed altered expression patterns in the mutants, making a targeted analysis difficult or impossible. In this research, a comparative microarray analysis was conducted using these two short fiber mutants and their near isogenic wild type (WT) grown under both field and greenhouse environments in order to identify key genes or metabolic pathways common to fiber elongation. Analyses of three transcriptome profiles obtained from different growth conditions and mutant types showed that most differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were affected by growth conditions. Under field conditions, short fiber mutants commanded higher expression of genes related to energy production, manifested by the increasing of mitochondrial electron transport activity or responding to reactive oxygen species when compared to the WT. Eighty-eight DEGs were identified to have altered expression patterns common to both short fiber mutants regardless of growth conditions. Enrichment, pathway and expression analyses suggested that these 88 genes were likely involved in fiber elongation without being affected by growth conditions.

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