Mapping-by-sequencing of Ligon-lintless-1 (Li 1 ) reveals a cluster of neighboring genes with correlated expression in developing fibers of Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Gregory N Thyssen, David D Fang, Rickie B Turley, Christopher Florane, Ping Li, Marina Naoumkina
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2015, 128 (9): 1703-12
Mapping-by-sequencing and SNP marker analysis were used to fine map the Ligon-lintless-1 ( Li 1 ) short fiber mutation in tetraploid cotton to a 255-kb region that contains 16 annotated proteins. The Ligon-lintless-1 (Li 1 ) mutant of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) has been studied as a model for cotton fiber development since its identification in 1929; however, the causative mutation has not been identified yet. Here we report the fine genetic mapping of the mutation to a 255-kb region that contains only 16 annotated genes in the reference Gossypium raimondii genome. We took advantage of the incompletely dominant dwarf vegetative phenotype to identify 100 mutants (Li 1 /Li 1 ) and 100 wild-type (li 1 /li 1 ) homozygotes from a mapping population of 2567 F2 plants, which we bulked and deep sequenced. Since only homozygotes were sequenced, we were able to use a high stringency in SNP calling to rapidly narrow down the region harboring the Li 1 locus, and designed subgenome-specific SNP markers to test the population. We characterized the expression of all sixteen genes in the region by RNA sequencing of elongating fibers and by RT-qPCR at seven time points spanning fiber development. One of the most highly expressed genes found in this interval in wild-type fiber cells is 40-fold under-expressed at the day of anthesis (DOA) in the mutant fiber cells.  This gene is a major facilitator superfamily protein, part of the large family of proteins that includes auxin and sugar transporters. Interestingly, nearly all genes in this region were most highly expressed at DOA and showed a high degree of co-expression. Further characterization is required to determine if transport of hormones or carbohydrates is involved in both the dwarf and lintless phenotypes of Li 1 plants.

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