Selection of suitable reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR gene expression analysis in Mulberry (Morus alba L.) under different abiotic stresses

Abstract

Mulberry (Morus alba L.) is the sole food source for the mulberry silkworm, Bombyx mori and therefore important for sericulture industry. Different abiotic stress conditions like drought, salt, heat and cold stress adversely affect the productivity and quality of mulberry leaves. Quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) is a reliable and widely used method to identify abiotic stress responsive genes and molecular mechanism in different plant species. Selection of suitable reference genes is important requirement for normalizing the expression of genes through qRT-PCR study. In the present study, we have selected eight candidate reference genes in mulberry for analyzing their expression stability in different abiotic stress treatments including drought, salt, heat and cold stresses. The expression stability of these reference genes was determined using geNorm, NormFinder and RefFinder statistical algorithms. The results showed that Ubiquitin and protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit A (PP2A) were the most stable genes across all the treatment samples. However, analysis of individual stresses revealed different expression profiles and stability of reference genes. Actin3 and PP2A were most stable in drought and salt conditions respectively. RPL3 most preferred in heat stress and Ubiquitin was most stable in cold stress. We propose the ubiquitin and PP2A are the preferred reference genes for normalization of gene expression data from abiotic stresses. In addition, Actin3 are preferred for drought stress, PP2A for salt stress, RPL3 for heat stress and Ubiquitin for cold stress studies.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to Central Silk Board and CSR&TI, Pampore for providing financial assistant in the form of Project (Project code: PIB3579) and Seribiotech Research laboratory (SBRL), Kodathi, Bangalore for providing facilities to carry out the study.

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Correspondence to Pawan Shukla.

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Shukla, P., Reddy, R.A., Ponnuvel, K.M. et al. Selection of suitable reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR gene expression analysis in Mulberry (Morus alba L.) under different abiotic stresses. Mol Biol Rep 46, 1809–1817 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-019-04631-y

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Keywords

  • Mulberry
  • Reference gene
  • Abiotic stress
  • Drought stress
  • Salt stress
  • Cold stress