Identification of differentially expressed genes associated with semigamy in Pima cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) through comparative microarray analysis

Curtiss, Jessica; Rodriguez-Uribe, Laura; Stewart, J. McD.; Jinfa Zhang
January 2011
BMC Plant Biology;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p49
Academic Journal
Background: Semigamy in cotton is a type of facultative apomixis controlled by an incompletely dominant autosomal gene (Se). During semigamy, the sperm and egg cells undergo cellular fusion, but the sperm and egg nucleus fail to fuse in the embryo sac, giving rise to diploid, haploid, or chimeric embryos composed of sectors of paternal and maternal origin. In this study we sought to identify differentially expressed genes related to the semigamy genotype by implementing a comparative microarray analysis of anthers and ovules between a non-semigametic Pima S-1 cotton and its doubled haploid natural isogenic mutant semigametic 57-4. Selected differentially expressed genes identified by the microarray results were then confirmed using quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). Results: The comparative analysis between isogenic 57-4 and Pima S-1 identified 284 genes in anthers and 1,864 genes in ovules as being differentially expressed in the semigametic genotype 57-4. Based on gene functions, 127 differentially expressed genes were common to both semigametic anthers and ovules, with 115 being consistently differentially expressed in both tissues. Nine of those genes were selected for qRT-PCR analysis, seven of which were confirmed. Furthermore, several well characterized metabolic pathways including glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms, sesquiterpenoid biosynthesis, and the biosynthesis of and response to plant hormones were shown to be affected by differentially expressed genes in the semigametic tissues. Conclusion: As the first report using microarray analysis, several important metabolic pathways affected by differentially expressed genes in the semigametic cotton genotype have been identified and described in detail. While these genes are unlikely to be the semigamy gene itself, the effects associated with expression changes in those genes do mimic phenotypic traits observed in semigametic plants. A more in-depth analysis of semigamy is necessary to understand its expression and regulation at the genetic and molecular level.


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