Exploring Candidate Genes for Pericarp Russet Pigmentation of Sand Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) via RNA-Seq Data in Two Genotypes Contrasting for Pericarp Color
Sand pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) russet pericarp is an important trait affecting both the quality and stress tolerance of fruits. This trait is controlled by a relative complex genetic process, with some fundamental biological questions such as how many and which genes are involved in the process remaining elusive. In this study, we explored differentially expressed genes between the russet- and green-pericarp offspring from the sand pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) cv. 'Qingxiang' × 'Cuiguan' F1 group by RNA-seq-based bulked segregant analysis (BSA). A total of 29,100 unigenes were identified and 206 of which showed significant differences in expression level (log2fold values>1) between the two types of pericarp pools. Gene Ontology (GO) analyses detected 123 unigenes in GO terms related to 'cellular_component' and 'biological_process', suggesting developmental and growth differentiations between the two types. GO categories associated with various aspects of 'lipid metabolic processes', 'transport', 'response to stress', 'oxidation-reduction process' and more were enriched with genes with divergent expressions between the two libraries. Detailed examination of a selected set of these categories revealed repressed expressions of candidate genes for suberin, cutin and wax biosynthesis in the russet pericarps.Genes encoding putative cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR), cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) and peroxidase (POD) that are involved in the lignin biosynthesis were suggested to be candidates for pigmentation of sand pear russet pericarps. Nine differentially expressed genes were analyzed for their expressions using qRT-PCR and the results were consistent with those obtained from Illumina RNA-sequencing. This study provides a comprehensive molecular biology insight into the sand pear pericarp pigmentation and appearance quality formation.
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