Combined fine mapping, genetic diversity, and transcriptome profiling reveals that the auxin transporter gene ns plays an important role in cucumber fruit spine development

Qing Xie, Panna Liu, Lixue Shi, Han Miao, Kailiang Bo, Ye Wang, Xingfang Gu, Shengping Zhang
TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik 2018, 131 (6): 1239-1252
Map-based cloning was used to identify the ns gene, which was involved in the formation of cucumber numerous fruit spines together with other genes under regulation by plant hormone signal transduction. The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) fruit spine density has an important impact on the commercial value. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanism for the fruit spine formation. Here, we identified NUMEROUS SPINES (NS), which regulate fruit spine development by modulating the Auxin signaling pathway. We fine-mapped the ns using a 2513 F2 population derived from NCG122 (numerous fruit spines line) and NCG121 (few fruit spines line), and showed that NS encoded auxin transporter-like protein 3. Genetic diversity analysis of the NS gene in natural populations revealed that one SNP and one InDel in the coding region of ns are co-segregated with the fruit spine density. The NS protein sequence was highly conserved among plants, but its regulation of fruit spine development in cucumber seems to be a novel function. Transcriptome profiling indicated that the plant hormone signal transduction-related genes were highly enriched in the up-regulated genes in NCG122 versus NCG121. Moreover, expression pattern analysis of the auxin signal pathway-related genes in NCG122 versus NCG121 showed that upstream genes of the pathway (like ns candidate gene Csa2M264590) are down-regulated, while the downstream genes are up-regulated. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR confirmed the differential expression during the fruit spine development. Therefore, reduced expression of ns may promote the fruit spine formation. Our findings provide a valuable framework for dissecting the regulatory mechanism for the fruit spine development.

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