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BMC Genomics

, 19:908 | Cite as

Comparative Transcriptome Analysis between Fertile and CMS Flower Buds in Wucai (Brassica campestris L.)

  • Guohu Chen
  • Xinyu Ye
  • Shengyun Zhang
  • Shidong Zhu
  • Lingyun Yuan
  • Jinfeng Hou
  • Chenggang WangEmail author
Open Access
Research article
  • 352 Downloads
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Plant genomics

Abstract

Background

Wucai (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. rosularis Tsen) is a variant of nonheading Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris L.), which is one of the major vegetables in China. Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) has been used for Wucai breeding in recent years. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of Wucai CMS remains unclear. In this study, the phenotypic and cytological features of Wucai CMS were observed by anatomical analysis, and a comparative transcriptome analysis was carried out to identify genes related to male sterility using Illumina RNA sequencing technology (RNA-Seq).

Results

Microscopic observation demonstrated that tapetum development was abnormal in the CMS line, which failed to produce fertile pollen. Bioinformatics analysis detected 4430 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the fertile and sterile flower buds. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analyses were performed to better understand the functions of these DEGs. Among the DEGs, 35 genes (53 DEGS) were implicated in anther and pollen development, and 11 genes were involved in pollen cell wall formation and modification; most of these showed downregulated expression in sterile buds. In addition, several genes related to tapetum development (A6, AMS, MS1, MYB39, and TSM1) and a few genes annotated to flowering (CO, AP3, VIN3, FLC, FT, and AGL) were detected and confirmed by qRT-PCR as being expressed at the meiosis, tetrad, and uninucleate microspore stages, thus implying possible roles in specifying or determining the fate and development of the tapetum, male gametophyte and stamen. Moreover, the top four largest transcription factor families (MYB, bHLH, NAC and WRKY) were analyzed, and most showed reduced expression in sterile buds. These differentially expressed transcription factors might result in abortion of pollen development in Wucai.

Conclusion

The present comparative transcriptome analysis suggested that many key genes and transcription factors involved in anther development show reduced gene expression patterns in the CMS line, which might contribute to male sterility in Wucai. This study provides valuable information for a better understanding of CMS molecular mechanisms and functional genome studies in Wucai.

Keywords

Wucai Cytoplasmic male sterility Differentially expressed genes Transcriptome analysis Tapetum RNA-Seq 

Abbreviations

CMS

Cytoplasmic male sterility

DEGs

Differentially expressed genes

FDR

False discovery rate

FLC

FLOWERING LOCUS C

GO

Gene Ontology

KEGG

Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes

PCD

Programmed cell death

RNA-Seq

RNA sequencing technology

RPKM

Reads per kilobase per million reads

SRA

Short Read Archive

Background

Wucai (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. rosularis Tsen) is a variant of nonheading Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris L.), which is the most important species in the Brassicaceae family [1]. As an important autumn and winter vegetable crop, this crop is cultured widely in most parts of China, where it originated, especially in the Yangtze-Huaihe River Basin, and has become increasingly popular in other countries for its beautiful shape and significant levels of vitamins and minerals [2]. In recent years, cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) has been used in some cultivated breeds [3] to generate stronger plants and higher hybrid seed yield [4, 5].

Owing to an interaction between mitochondrial and nuclear genes, the CMS phenotype fails to produce functional anthers, pollen or male gametes [6]. Thus, understanding the delicate and complex processes of anther and pollen development is a prerequisite for comprehension of this unique phenomenon in CMS plants [5]. However, anther and pollen development is a critical phase in the plant life cycle, which contains a series of correlated events involving a diverse range of genes in complex regulatory networks [7, 8, 9]. Dysfunction of these genes may lead to male sterility [10]. Although many of these genes have been isolated and analyzed to have vital roles in CMS, the regulatory network and the novel genes underlying CMS occurrence are still largely unknown [8, 10].

In recent decades, genetic research into CMS occurrence has included two main types, map-based cloning and sequence-based transcriptome assays [7]. Using AFLP and SSR techniques for gene mapping, Xu et al. [11] identified the restorer gene BrRfp from the pol-like CMS restorer line of heading Chinese cabbage (B. rapa). Compared with the gene mapping method, the Illumina sequencing (RNA-Seq) technique could offer several key advantages over existing technologies [12]. This form of transcriptional analysis allows for the determination of genome-wide expression levels as well as identification of new genes and SNPs, especially genes with very low abundance [13, 14, 15]. Furthermore, the results of RNA-Seq also show high levels of reproducibility for both technical and biological replicates [16]. Therefore, taking these advantages into account, RNA-Seq has been used successfully in the pollen and anther development of Brassica crops, such as B. napus [6, 9, 14, 17], B. rapa [7, 18], B. oleracea [19, 20, 21], B. campestris [5], and B. juncea [22]. However, to the best of our knowledge, the genome-wide transcriptional profiles and related genes of fertile and sterile flower buds from Wucai have not yet been reported through RNA-Seq technology.

In our previous study, a newly sterile plant of Wucai was generated by hybridization with nonheading Chinese cabbage, and a stable sterility line was developed via backcrossing for ten generations. In this present study, the objective was to further understand the differences in the transcriptome between the CMS line and its maintainer line and to find some molecular clues to this CMS system. Accordingly, mRNA was isolated from the flower buds of fertile and sterile plants, respectively, and then, genome-wide transcriptional profiling was performed using the Illumina RNA-Seq platform. Based on bioinformatics analysis, a large number of candidate genes and transcription factors involved in anther and pollen development were isolated, and various screened candidate genes related to pollen development were further analyzed by qRT-PCR. Our results may contribute to an understanding of CMS molecular mechanisms and provide useful information for further heterosis breeding in Wucai.

Results

Phenotypic and cytological characterization

After ten generations of backcrossing, there was no difference in morphological phenotype between the sterile line 12-14A and its maintainer line 12-14B (Fig. 1a and b), and the forms of the corolla and flower seemed normal (Fig. 1c-f). However, compared with those of the fertile flower, shorter filaments and undeveloped anthers were observed on the stamens of the sterile flower (Fig. 1g-h).
Fig. 1

Morphological characteristics of flowers and microscopic observations of anthers from the sterile and fertile lines of Wucai. a and b, CMS line 12-14A and its maintainer line 12-14B. c, e, g and d, f, h, Inflorescences, flowers, and petals and stamens from the sterile and fertile lines, respectively. i-l, Transverse sections of sterile anthers; abnormal tapetum was formed, and the pollen sacs of sterile anthers did not produce pollen, in the CMS line. m-p, Transverse sections of fertile anthers; normal tapetum and mature anthers developed in the maintainer line. AT, abnormal tapetum; DPG, degenerated pollen grain; E, epidermis; En, endothecium; ML, middle layer; MSp, microspore; PG, pollen grain; T, tapetum. Scale bars in a, b, c and d represent 1 cm; scale bars in e, f, g, h represent 0.5 cm; scale bars in I-P represent 100 μm

To accurately characterize the cause of the pollen abortion, semithin sections of the buds from the two lines of Wucai were observed. As shown in Fig. 1i and IM, there was no obvious difference in the meiosis period between sterile and fertile anthers. However, at the tetrad stage, the tapetal cells expanded, and the microspore could not carry out meiotic division (Fig. 1j). After this stage of anther development, the tapetal cells vacuolated and filled in the sacs, and the microspores degraded (Fig. 1k), which caused pollen abortion (Fig. 1l). In contrast, a normal tapetum and fertile pollen grains developed in the fertile anthers (Fig. 1m-p).

De novo assembly and sequence annotation

To further understand the molecular mechanisms of CMS differences in Wucai, RNA-Seq was performed using Illumina technology. After the raw data were trimmed, a total of 52,936,673 clean reads for the fertile samples and 52,606,810 for the sterile samples were obtained, and the Q20 and Q30 were > 96.61 and > 92.53%, respectively (Table 1). In addition, the GC contents were consistently approximately 45% for both sterile and fertile samples (Table 1), suggesting that the sequencing was highly accurate. All clean reads (105,543,483) were assembled using the Trinity program [23]. As the result, 117,332 contigs were obtained with a mean length of 901 nt (Table 1). After clustering, 80,851 unigenes (> 200 bp) were generated; the average length was 1054 nt, and the N50 was 1586 nt (Table 1). The lengths of all unigenes were longer than 199 bp, and 86.95% of them ranged from 200 to 1999 bp (Additional file 1: Table S1). The assembled unigenes were subjected to search against the Nr, Swiss-Prot and COG databases, and 66,143 (81.81%), 54,857 (67.85%) and 28,129 (34.79%) unigenes were aligned against these three protein databases, respectively (Additional file 2: Table S2). The species distribution showed that that almost all of the sequences matched sequences from the Brassicaceae (Additional file 3: Figure S1).
Table 1

Illumina sequencing data and results of de novo assembly

 

Sterile

Fertile

Total

Reads

 Clean reads

52,606,810

52,936,673

 

 Q20 (%)

96.61

97.29

 

 Q30 (%)

92.53

94.27

 

 GC content (%)

45.89

45.65

 

Contig

 Total number

  

117,332

 Total length (nt)

  

105,669,013

 Mean length (nt)

  

901

 N50 (nt)

  

1415

Unigene

 Total number

  

80,851

 Total length (nt)

  

85,236,698

 Mean length (nt)

  

1054

 N50 (nt)

  

1586

 Distinct clusters

  

43,191

 Distinct singletons

  

37,660

Identification of differentially expressed genes

To gain better insight into the differences in gene expression patterns, we identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the sterile and fertile lines. A total of 4430 genes (including 147 novel genes) were identified in the sterile and fertile comparison, including 980 genes upregulated and 3450 downregulated in sterile buds (Fig. 2; Additional file 4: Table S3). Among these DEGs, 1384 specifically expressed genes were observed that were expressed in only the fertile (1044) or sterile (340) samples. These results showed that the number of downregulated DEGs was considerably higher than that of upregulated DEGs. In addition, 147 novel genes were identified that were not annotated to any database. The biological functions of these novel genes remain to be determined (Additional file 5: Table S4).
Fig. 2

Number of DEGs between sterile and fertile buds. Red indicates upregulated DEGs, and green indicates downregulated DEGs

Functional annotation by Gene Ontology

To investigate the function of the DEGs, the genes that showed significant differential expression were subjected to analysis by Blast2GO software. As shown in Additional file 6: Figure S2, 4430 DEGs were categorized into 53 functional groups under three main classifications. Among these groups, ‘cellular process’ (2180; 49.21%) in biological process, ‘cell’ (2618; 59.10%) and ‘cell part’ (48,388; 87.59%) in cellular component, and ‘binding’ (1450; 32.73%) in molecular function were the dominant categories. Conversely, three categories (‘cell killing’, ‘virion’ and ‘metallochaperone activity’) had only a few unigenes.

Pathway mapping by Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes

To understand the biological functions of DEGs that might be active in Wucai, pathway annotation was performed against the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database. The results showed that 2217 of 4430 DEGs were assigned to 119 KEGG pathways (Additional file 7: Table S5). The 20 most significantly enriched KEGG pathways are shown in Fig. 3. The pathways with significantly more DEGs were metabolic pathways (676, 15.26%), biosynthesis of secondary metabolites (284, 6.41%), plant-pathogen interaction (162, 3.61%), and starch and sucrose metabolism (124, 2.80%). In starch and sucrose metabolism, a total of 124 DEGs were screened, and 38 of these DEGs were expressed in only fertile buds, while 71 DEGs were downregulated in sterile buds (Additional file 8: Table S6). These pathway annotations provide a basis for investigating gene functions involved in male sterility in Wucai.
Fig. 3

Twenty most significantly enriched KEGG pathways

Genes related to anther and pollen development

Pollen development is a complex process that involves many events and plays an important role in plant propagation. In this study, all of the DEGs were annotated against the processes of anther and pollen development of A. thaliana. As shown in Table 2, 35 genes are considered to regulate male gametophyte development in Wucai. From A6 to ZAT5, 30 genes were downregulated in sterile buds. In contrast, 5 other genes, BT2, SCC12, TCMO, VAL2 and XPO1, were upregulated in sterile buds. Among these genes, A6, AMS, ENL2, MS1, MYB39, ORTH2, PLRX1 and TSM1 are also considered to be involved in tapetum development. In addition, we found several genes associated with cell wall formation and modification, such as the Pectinesterase gene (PME5), UDP-arabinose mutase gene (RGP1), and Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase gene (CCR2), which might participate in the processes leading to CMS in Wucai.
Table 2

Identities and relative expression of DEGs associated with anther and pollen development in Wucai

#

Gene name

Gene ID

log2 Ratio (S/F)

Up-Down-

Regulation

(S/F)

P-value

FDR

Nr-ID

Annotation

Note

1

A6

CL5312.Contig6

−2.944716046

Down

0.000000833

0.0000238

BAG16366.1

Tapetum-specific protein A6

Tapetum

2

ACA2

CL7501.Contig3

−22.02431

Down

1.32E-10

7.15E-09

AAF18608.2

Calcium-transporting ATPase 2, plasma membrane-type

 
  

CL9430.Contig2

−4.12692914

Down

0.00000702

0.000163392

XP_006404763.1

 
  

Unigene13893

−20.49563

Down

6.02E-08

0.00000216

AAF18608.2

 

3

ACOX1

CL10760.Contig1

−8.01825105

Down

6.27E-11

3.53E-09

XP_006410738.1

Peroxisomal acyl-coenzyme A oxidase 1

Cell wall

4

AGD10

Unigene2844

−22.26378

Down

2.08E-08

0.000000814

XP_006410680.1

ADP-ribosylation factor GTPase-activating protein

 

5

AGD13

Unigene3446

−4.082284653

Down

3.42E-18

4.05E-16

XP_006396608.1

ADP-ribosylation factor GTPase-activating protein AGD13

 

6

AGL18

Unigene20308

−17.94896

Down

0.000000392

0.0000119

XP_006416569.1

Agamous-like MADS-box protein AGL18

 

7

AMS

CL228.Contig1

−3.626573007

Down

0.0000214

0.000440987

XP_006409372.1

Transcription factor ABORTED MICROSPORES

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig10

−3.211951041

Down

1.49E-09

7.07E-08

XP_006300017.1

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig11

−3.981481531

Down

6.96E-15

6.28E-13

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig2

−3.888023907

Down

1.88E-12

1.3E-10

CAD54298.1

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig3

−6.49960103

Down

0.00000777

0.000178796

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig4

−3.779024655

Down

5.58E-14

4.55E-12

XP_006300017.1

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig7

−3.399639006

Down

1.8E-11

1.11E-09

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig8

−3.618863472

Down

1.7E-09

7.93E-08

CAD54298.1

Tapetum

  

CL228.Contig9

−3.282505028

Down

9.96E-10

4.84E-08

XP_006300017.1

Tapetum

8

BT3

Unigene8957

−3.999145848

Down

0.000000327

0.0000102

XP_006307699.1

BTB/POZ and TAZ domain-containing protein 3

 

9

CCR2

CL13286.Contig4

−2.618288933

Down

9.76E-09

0.000000404

AEK27166.1

Cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 2

Cell wall

10

ENL2

CL9725.Contig1

−12.9847855

Down

6.75E-08

0.0000024

AAR13697.1

Early nodulin-like protein 2

Tapetum

11

GALE1

CL7725.Contig1

−5.650465262

Down

0.0000241

0.000490652

XP_006391772.1

UDP-glucose 4-epimerase 1

 

12

GEX1

CL6689.Contig1

−4.118156527

Down

4.93E-08

0.0000018

XP_006401451.1

Protein GAMETE EXPRESSED 1

 
  

CL6689.Contig2

−2.506677002

Down

0.0000292

0.000580342

 

13

GUN2

CL5998.Contig1

−6.849121307

Down

6.22E-24

1.09E-21

XP_006307252.1

Endoglucanase 2

Cell wall

14

MS1

CL11348.Contig1

−3.49023522

Down

0.0000132

0.000286238

XP_006400732.1

PHD finger protein MALE STERILITY 1

Tapetum

15

MYB39

CL668.Contig2

−4.224047618

Down

0.0000012

0.0000332

NP_200422.1

Transcription factor MYB39

Tapetum

16

NAS2

Unigene9840

−10.01145026

Down

5.04E-33

1.44E-30

XP_006413176.1

Nicotianamine synthase 2

 

17

ORTH2

CL8531.Contig2

−6.729731899

Down

3.32E-28

7.15E-26

XP_002886735.1

E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase ORTHRUS 2

Tapetum

  

CL8531.Contig6

−6.833897659

Down

4.79E-23

7.97E-21

Tapetum

18

PAL1

Unigene4968

−2.11264418

Down

3.77E-08

0.00000142

ABC69917.1

Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase 1

 

19

PAL2

Unigene23252

−3.176980409

Down

0.0000497

0.000916371

ADL09136.1

Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase 2

 

20

PEAM3

Unigene26733

−2.067508491

Down

6.93E-08

0.00000246

XP_006390538.1

Phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase 3

 

21

PGIP2

CL3211.Contig3

−4.490292387

Down

0.0000128

0.000278848

ABX46561.1

Polygalacturonase inhibitor 2

Cell wall

22

PLA2C

Unigene36790

−11.00893115

Down

3.58E-16

3.65E-14

XP_006412837.1

Phospholipase A2-gamma

 

23

PLRX1

CL9725.Contig2

−11.98149635

Down

3.92E-08

0.00000146

AAR13697.1

Pollen-specific leucine-rich repeat extensin-like protein 1

Tapetum

24

PME5

Unigene14803

−24.662

Down

2.79E-71

3.17E-68

ABC25451.1

Pectinesterase 5

Cell wall

  

Unigene37636

−24.55937

Down

3.24E-70

3.45E-67

XP_006397894.1

Cell wall

25

RBG7

Unigene958

−1.955925101

Down

0.00000713

0.000165484

NP_179760.1

Glycine-rich RNA-binding protein 7

Cell wall

26

RGP1

CL5431.Contig2

−3.796328409

Down

2.54E-20

3.52E-18

XP_006408433.1

UDP-arabinose mutase 1

Cell wall

27

TI10A

CL3440.Contig3

−1.838249753

Down

0.00000272

0.0000696

XP_006416530.1

jasmonate-zim-domain protein 1

 

28

TMK1

Unigene30627

−17.95435

Down

0.00000625

0.000147115

XP_002867400.1

Probable receptor protein kinase

Cell wall

29

TSM1

Unigene12653

−4.917563543

Down

0.0000129

0.000281326

NP_564916.2

Tapetum-specific methyltransferase 1

Tapetum

 

Unigene4469

−7.200986245

Down

0.00000372

0.0000924

XP_002888647.1

Tapetum

30

ZAT5

CL12866.Contig2

−17.40146

Down

0.0000171

0.000360205

NP_187658.1

Zinc finger protein

Cell wall

  

CL801.Contig1

−6.072505988

Down

6.22E-16

6.25E-14

XP_006398898.1

Cell wall

  

CL801.Contig4

−6.376284185

Down

0.000000604

0.0000178

Cell wall

  

CL801.Contig5

−17.48876

Down

0.0000089

0.000202113

XP_002871091.1

Cell wall

31

BT2

Unigene16869

4.243001335

Up

0.0000312

0.000613786

XP_004975990.1

BTB/POZ and TAZ domain-containing protein 2

 

32

SCC12

CL8357.Contig1

4.33729296

Up

0.00000218

0.0000571

XP_006405422.1

Sister chromatid cohesion 1 protein 2

 

33

TCMO

Unigene3794

4.003339344

Up

0.0000226

0.000461499

XP_006410152.1

Trans-cinnamate 4-monooxygenase

Cell wall

34

VAL2

CL7862.Contig2

6.699055286

Up

2.06E-15

1.96E-13

NP_194929.2

B3 domain-containing transcription repressor

Cell wall

  

CL7862.Contig7

8.577233976

Up

1.62E-19

2.14E-17

Cell wall

35

XPO1

CL3131.Contig8

17.77931

Up

0.00000304

0.0000768

XP_006400241.1

Exportin1 (XPO1) like protein

 

Differentially expressed transcription factor genes

In the anther and pollen development processes, transcription factors are generally thought to be important regulators. To identify differentially expressed transcription factors, all of the DEGs were annotated. In this study, 131 transcription factors (182 DEGs) were found, including 128 down- and 54 upregulated DEGs (Additional file 9: Table S7). Among these transcription factors, 27 up- and 8 downregulated DEGs were specific to fertile and sterile buds, respectively. In addition, 13 DEGs were associated with 8 WRKY transcription factor genes, and WRKY19 (Unigene3849, CL2284.Contig2, CL2120.Contig3) and WRKY32 (CL4008.Contig1) were upregulated in only sterile buds. Fifteen DEGs were identified with 10 NAC transcription factor genes, and 6 of them were highly expressed in sterile buds. In the bHLH and MYB transcription factor families, a total of 43 DEGs were associated with 16 bHLH and 13 MYB transcription factors, and 10 bHLHs (15 DEGs) and 8 MYBs (16 DEGs) were downregulated in sterile buds, respectively (Fig. 4, Table 3). These differentially expressed transcription factors might result in abortion of pollen development in Wucai.
Fig. 4

Heat map analysis of bHLH (a), MYB (b), NAC (c) and WRKY (d) transcription factors. The expression levels shown are based on RPKM data. The color key represents the value of log2(S/F). Red represents high expression, and blue represents low expression. Each row represents a DEG

Table 3

Annotation and relative expression of differentially expressed bHLH, MYB, NAC and WRKY transcription factor genes in Wucai

#

Gene ID

Annotation

Base Mean F

Base Mean S

log2 Ratio (S/F)

Up-Down Regulation (S/F)

P-value

FDR

Nr/Nt-ID

bHLH

 1

CL228.Contig10

AMS

409.1749872

44.15861763

−3.211951041

Down

1.49E-09

7.07E-08

XP_006300017.1

 2

CL228.Contig2

 

846.3264726

57.16446004

−3.888023907

Down

1.88E-12

1.3E-10

CAD54298.1

 3

CL228.Contig3

 

22.71136886

0.250996948

−6.49960103

Down

0.00000777

0.000178796

CAD54298.1

 4

CL228.Contig11

 

929.7544629

58.86035859

−3.981481531

Down

6.96411E-15

6.28153E-13

XP_006300017.1

 5

CL228.Contig8

 

1219.003283

99.22438599

−3.618863472

Down

1.7E-09

7.93E-08

CAD54298.1

 6

CL9650.Contig1

BH010

68.59317113

8.284434373

−3.04958985

Down

0.00000726

0.000168143

XP_006294062.1

 7

CL4981.Contig2

BH055

20.42367727

0.570787056

−5.161146216

Down

0.0000481

0.000890179

XP_006417224.1

 8

CL11878.Contig2

BH069

273.2838968

71.45109769

−1.935372371

Down

0.0000331

0.000647096

XP_006412645.1

 9

Unigene35364

BH089

1343.847101

69.02695614

−4.283065324

Down

2.55E-23

4.31E-21

XP_002892324.1

 10

CL8320.Contig1

BH091

354.1856344

2.682361084

−7.04485843

Down

7.68E-30

1.83E-27

XP_006410252.1

 11

CL8320.Contig2

 

234.632662

4.474145004

−5.712648033

Down

1.03E-12

7.33E-11

XP_006410252.1

 12

Unigene7797

BH095

53.40631948

2.362570976

−4.498580887

Down

1.08E-08

0.000000444

XP_006393216.1

 13

CL8360.Contig2

BH100

474.3340898

0.0001

−22.17747

Down

0.000000143

0.00000478

XP_006411389.1

 14

Unigene29999

BH126

18.09145412

0.0001

−17.46495

Down

0.0000168

0.0003553

XM_002869626.1

 15

CL7683.Contig2

BH129

75.39194436

5.398710046

−3.80372374

Down

2.68E-08

0.00000103

XP_006411590.1

 16

Unigene1322

BH075

637.9841813

2792.211601

2.129815719

Up

4.23E-08

0.00000157

XP_006415858.1

 17

CL6643.Contig1

BH077

0.0001

26.3978698

18.01006

Up

0.00000272

0.0000696

ACB30989.1

 18

CL3150.Contig4

BH104

47.90423927

240.6065811

2.328450867

Up

0.000000366

0.0000112

XP_002870316.1

 19

CL3730.Contig2

BH135

1.485983153

67.46448335

5.504638531

Up

2.93E-11

1.74E-09

XP_006395335.1

 20

CL10877.Contig2

BH149

46.40107667

203.9150311

2.135737938

Up

0.00000403

0.000099

XP_002866229.1

 21

CL2773.Contig10

LHWL3

60.30986683

235.7158239

1.966582657

Up

0.0000344

0.000666052

NP_180686.2

MYB

 1

CL13033.Contig1

MY101

462.3621775

7.375614264

−5.970116369

Down

1.89E-29

4.38E-27

AF411970_1

 2

CL13033.Contig2

 

552.9666991

27.31999076

−4.3391637

Down

6.99E-21

1E-18

AF411970_1

 3

CL10091.Contig2

GAM1

37.53982746

0.0001

−18.51806

Down

0.0000439

0.000821047

NP_191605.1

 4

Unigene16369

MY104

311.4872214

83.66750916

−1.896433588

Down

0.0000341

0.000661013

XP_006408602.1

 5

CL10109.Contig1

MY1R1

36.53415274

1.717675964

−4.410715944

Down

0.00000123

0.000034

XP_006297882.1

 6

CL782.Contig1

 

42.56716483

0.959370325

−5.471509378

Down

0.000000107

0.00000366

XP_006394486.1

 7

Unigene1680

 

2848.722771

6.101768627

−8.866872039

Down

1.03E-21

1.55E-19

XP_006394486.1

 8

CL668.Contig1

MYB38

752.2749053

43.38701927

−4.115924585

Down

0.00000243

0.0000631

NP_200422.1

 9

CL668.Contig2

MYB39

72.94632466

3.903357947

−4.224047618

Down

0.0000012

0.0000332

NP_200422.1

 10

CL8689.Contig2

MYB44

85.46534877

8.667702846

−3.30161801

Down

5.52E-08

0.000002

XP_006391000.1

 11

CL10167.Contig2

 

55.89646529

1.738835419

−5.006563761

Down

7.71E-10

0.000000038

NP_173237.1

 12

CL10167.Contig3

 

22.38440326

0.959370325

−4.544262234

Down

0.0000475

0.000881123

NP_173237.2

 13

Unigene1657

 

35.26630754

1.508997926

−4.546627802

Down

0.000000811

0.0000233

AAC83612.1

 14

CL12124.Contig1

MYB86

174.6674392

3.599412499

−5.600705435

Down

4.39E-20

5.99E-18

XP_006416547.1

 15

CL12124.Contig2

 

78.19330659

0.848258255

−6.526397743

Down

1.18E-14

1.04E-12

XP_006416547.1

 16

Unigene2176

 

321.6680886

80.21008064

−2.003717351

Down

0.00000411

0.000100816

XP_006407153.1

 17

CL6176.Contig3

MB3R1

10.12504634

76.35690834

2.914830179

Up

0.00000206

0.0000544

XP_006399657.1

 18

CL4392.Contig3

MYB28

8.25033752

156.5456644

4.245986602

Up

4.33E-10

0.000000022

ACR48179.1

 19

Unigene425

 

15.57701305

144.8393522

3.216963107

Up

0.00000604

0.000142804

AFX96283.1

 20

Unigene6538

MYB29

11.11907995

85.93982834

2.950289479

Up

0.00000586

0.00013881

ACR48181.1

 21

Unigene36155

MYB48

0.742994303

262.1628707

8.462896512

Up

8.61E-14

6.87E-12

AFW74899.1

 22

Unigene4420

MYB59

0.0001

35.65819104

18.44387

Up

0.00000027

0.00000848

NP_851226.1

NAC

 1

Unigene27566

NAC06

40.52594362

3.321941301

−3.608747293

Down

0.00000538

0.00012842

XP_006411314.1

 2

CL1573.Contig1

NAC18

39.29102704

0.821784004

−5.579296819

Down

2.33E-08

0.000000909

ACN62416.1

 3

CL1573.Contig2

 

872.2221035

131.168863

−2.733270259

Down

2.46E-11

1.48E-09

XP_006406961.1

 4

CL1573.Contig3

 

505.1184416

17.11619779

−4.883187554

Down

1.48E-22

2.38E-20

XP_002882948.1

 5

CL7820.Contig1

NAC25

114.7087842

0.0001

−20.12954

Down

3.58E-22

5.55E-20

AAB71483.1

 6

CL7820.Contig2

 

4465.490482

7.822460828

−9.156980403

Down

4.64E-38

1.66E-35

NP_564771.1

 7

Unigene11170

 

572.1354143

0.0001

−22.44793

Down

1.44E-30

3.53E-28

AAM65392.1

 8

CL1394.Contig1

NAC69

376.7708871

42.48727739

−3.14858469

Down

3.24E-11

1.91E-09

XP_006286761.1

 9

Unigene19761

NAC78

63.37497158

4.479459799

−3.822516529

Down

0.000000543

0.0000162

XP_006399623.1

 10

CL1654.Contig1

 

1.494589233

109.339016

6.192915453

Up

2.7E-16

2.78E-14

XP_006398899.1

 11

Unigene22467

NAC18

0.0001

26.72752603

18.02797

Up

0.000000402

0.0000122

DAA48262.1

 12

CL10884.Contig3

NAC29

323.0703998

1086.313175

1.7495196

Up

0.00000775

0.00017832

XP_006399904.1

 13

CL5650.Contig1

NAC31

134.1180934

613.9217676

2.194550945

Up

7.76E-08

0.00000273

XP_006412943.1

 14

CL1202.Contig2

NAC42

17.5549512

122.8209502

2.806606779

Up

0.000000194

0.00000629

XP_006411573.1

 15

Unigene31751

NAMB2

0.0001

45.35108693

18.79078

Up

7.94E-11

4.41E-09

XP_006292493.1

WRKY

 1

CL11391.Contig3

WRKY2

352.3112665

104.7828505

−1.749447996

Down

0.000031

0.000611096

ACQ76801.1

 2

Unigene18850

WRKY9

64.21010222

0.618420761

−6.698067731

Down

0.00000303

0.0000765

AHB33821.1

 3

Unigene16994

WRKY10

62.20024848

0.0001

−19.24656

Down

5.45E-13

3.98E-11

XP_006392618.1

 4

CL1378.Contig1

WRKY58

239.5168401

2.26198877

−6.726391516

Down

5.4E-17

5.87E-15

AHB33854.1

 5

CL1378.Contig2

 

287.5616426

0.890577165

−8.334914915

Down

1.47683E-32

4.10153E-30

XP_006408460.1

 6

CL1378.Contig3

 

44.85334435

1.210367273

−5.21169877

Down

7.66E-09

0.000000323

AHB33854.2

 7

CL1378.Contig4

 

21.15655342

0.0001

−17.69075

Down

0.00000189

0.0000501

NP_683519.2

 8

Unigene1086

WRKY64

198.2663101

0.618420761

−8.324635083

Down

1.61E-09

7.54E-08

AHB33859.1

 9

Unigene37103

WRKY66

65.05180056

0.0001

−19.31123

Down

2.76E-15

2.59E-13

AHB33861.1

 10

Unigene3849

WRKY19

0.0001

42.24559068

18.68844

Up

0.00000337

0.0000845

XP_002869985.1

 11

CL2120.Contig3

 

2.211765296

127.96661

5.85442531

Up

6.61E-16

6.61E-14

XP_006399450.1

 12

CL2284.Contig2

 

0.0001

44.62232571

18.76741

Up

0.00000015

0.00000499

ACP30636.1

 13

CL4008.Contig1

WRKY32

6.738547034

57.69680762

3.09798204

Up

0.00000546

0.000130266

AHB33838.1

Real-time qPCR validation of gene expression patterns

To validate the results of RNA-Seq, 28 DEGs, including 11 genes annotated to anther and pollen development, 8 transcription factor genes, 8 flowering genes and one gene with unknown function were subjected to verification using qRT-PCR. The results of this experiment are shown in Fig. 5. Among these genes, 19 genes were downregulated in sterile buds, including 7 tapetum-specific genes (A6, AMS, ENL2, MS1, MYB39, ORTH2 and TSM1), 3 pollen cell wall formation genes (PME5, ZAT5, RGP1), 4 transcription factor genes (WRKY9, NAC91, MY104, BH089), 4 flowering genes (FLC, AGL18, AGL104–1 and AGL104–2) and one gene with unknown function (CL11374.Contig2). All of the 28 DEGs exhibited the same tendency between the RNA-Seq analysis and qRT-PCR results, which suggested that our transcriptome analysis was accurate and reliable.
Fig. 5

qRT-PCR verification of differentially expressed unigenes. S means sterile sample, and F means fertile sample. Relative expression levels were calculated using Actin as an internal control

To further determine the expression pattern of key genes in the anther and pollen development, 2 transcription factors and 6 tapetum and pollen cell wall development genes were selected from the above for qRT-PCR assay (Fig. 6). Among these genes, the pollen cell wall formation gene PME5 (Unigene37636) was highly and specifically expressed in the fertile buds at the tetrad stage. The five tapetum development genes and one transcription factor (BH089) were highly expressed at the meiosis or tetrad stage in the fertile buds, and all of them shoed low abundance in sterile buds. The other transcription factor, BH077, was highly expressed at meiosis in sterile buds. These results further confirmed the reliability of the RNA-Seq data.
Fig. 6

Expression of anther and pollen development related genes at different stages using qRT-PCR. S means sterile sample, and F means fertile sample. 1–3 indicate the pollen meiosis stage (bud sizes 0.5–1.5 mm), tetrad stage (1.5–3.0 mm) and uninucleate microspore stage (3.0–4.5 mm) of anther and pollen development, respectively. Relative expression levels were calculated using Actin as an internal control

In addition, 8 flowering genes were also examined in this study (Fig. 6). Among these genes, CO, AP3 and FT were highly expressed at the tetrad stage, and VIN3 was highly expressed in the meiosis period in sterile buds. FLC, AGL18, AGL104–1 and AGL104-2 were highly expressed at the meiosis or tetrad stage in fertile buds. The abnormal expression of these genes might influence the development of male gametophytes and stamens, leading to male sterility (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7

The mechanism of FLC affects fertility in Wucai. Black arrows indicate promotion, and inverted T bars indicate repression. Dashed lines indicate that further research is needed. Question marks indicate unknown genes. Red arrows indicate up- or downregulation. AGL18 (Unigene20308), AGAMOUS LIKE 18; AGL104 (CL3910.Contig1, CL3910.Contig2), AGAMOUS LIKE 104; AP3 (CL13421.Contig5), APETALA 3; CO (Unigene36778) CONSTANS; FLC (CL3897.Contig1), Flowering Locus C; FT (CL2127.Contig2), Flowering Locus T; VIN3 (CL8770.Contig1), VERNALIZATION 3; TFs, transcription factors

Discussion

In higher plants, male sterility is a common phenotypic trait in which the abortion of stamens occurs and plants fail to produce functional anthers, pollen or male gametes under typical natural conditions [20, 24]. As the male reproductive organ, stamens play an important role in plant inheritance [5]. In this present study, morphological comparisons were performed between fertile and sterile lines of Wucai (Fig. 1a-h), and there was no difference between them except the stamens, which had shorter filaments and aborted anthers in the sterile flowers (Fig. 1g-h). A cytological examination was further carried out to evaluate the differences in pollen development between the fertile and sterile lines, and we observed that anther abortion occurred consistently in the sterile line, in which the tapetum developed abnormally and the microspore began to degrade after the meiotic stage (Fig. 1i-l). These results were consistent with those of Liu et al. [7] and Zhou et al. [5] and suggested that the abnormal development of the tapetal cells and microspores led to pollen and anther abortion.

To better identify the genes associated with pollen abortion in this CMS line of Wucai, a comprehensive analysis of transcript profiles between fertile buds and sterile buds was performed using RNA sequencing technology, which could detect low abundance transcripts and provide new insights into male sterility through global investigation of gene expression changes [5, 25]. A total of 105,543,483 clean reads and 117,332 contigs were obtained based on the RNA-Seq data, and 980 upregulated (1.21%) and 3450 downregulated (4.27%) DEGs out of 80,851 unigenes were identified based on their gene expression levels (Fig. 2; Table 1; Additional file 4: Table S3). These results indicated that changes in the expression of a large number of related genes could cause male sterility in Wucai, though the development of anther and pollen is a complicated process and involves numerous genes.

In the KEGG enrichment results, 4430 DEGs were classified into 119 metabolic pathways (Fig. 3, Additional file 7: Table S5), and these pathways might encompass all the biological pathways in anther development [26]. Among these pathways, starch and sucrose metabolism provides energy and carbon for anther development, and starch and sucrose are accumulated as energy reserves for pollen maturation [4, 27]. In our research, out of 124 DEGs involved in this pathway, 38 DEGs were expressed in only fertile buds and 2 DEGs (Unigene23056 and Unigene11909) were expressed in only sterile buds (Additional file 8: Table S6). The specific expression of these genes might lead to disturbances in the metabolism of starch and sucrose and the processing of energy reserves, which could suppress pollen development and ultimately lead to male sterility [7, 28]. This finding was consistent with those of previous works [4, 19, 29, 30].

In addition to the metabolic pathways, many key genes have been identified for pollen and anther development in Arabidopsis [31] and Brassica [9, 20, 32]. It is important to note that we identified 35 anther and pollen development related genes (53 unigenes) that have homologs in Arabidopsis and Brassica, and most of them were downregulated and associated with the development of the tapetum and pollen cell wall (Table 2). Among these 53 unigenes, 9 DEGs (6 genes: ACA2, AGD10, AGL18, PME5, TMK1 and ZAT5) were expressed in only fertile buds (log2 Ratio(S/F) > 17), which might offer new insights into the mechanisms of CMS regulation in Wucai. ACA2 encodes a Calcium-transporting ATPase 2 (plasma membrane-type), which regulates the Ca2+-mediated signaling pathway during pollen development [33, 34]. The nonexpression of this gene in sterile buds might disrupt the Ca2+ balance in the pollen mother cell. However, interestingly, AGD10 might be involved in root development as an ARF-GAP protein [35, 36, 37], and AGL18, encoding a MADS-box protein, has been reported as a flowering-inhibiting factor [38]. The functions of these genes in pollen development have not yet been reported and need further investigation. The other three genes (PME5, ZAT5, TMK1) and ACOX1, CCR2, GUN2, PGIP2, RBG7, RGP1, TCMO, VAL2 were involved in pollen cell wall formation, modification and organization (Table 2), in which critical chemical changes could lead to pollen abortion [5].

It has been reported that some constituents of the pollen wall are secreted from tapetal cells [39, 40]. Abnormal (early or delayed) tapetal cell degeneration can result in male sterility [5]. In conjunction with our cytological observations of Wucai buds (Fig. 1i-p), several genes related to tapetum development were revealed (Table 2). As a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) protein, AMS is required for tapetal cell biosynthesis, postmeiotic microspore and pollen wall formation, and tapetum programmed cell death (PCD) by directly regulating target genes involved in these biological pathways [41, 42, 43]. MS1 encodes a transcription factor of the PHD finger family and is specifically expressed in microsporocytes [44]. A6, a tapetum-specific protein secreted by the tapetal cells, displays similarity to β-1,3-glucanases, which degrade callose during pollen development [45]. TSM1 encodes a cation-dependent CCoAOMT-like protein involved in phenylpropanoid polyamine conjugate biosynthesis and has a function in stamen/pollen development [46, 47]. Downregulated expression of these genes could result in degeneration of the tapetum, eventually leading to abortion.

The regulation of transcription is a fundamental process in all living organisms [48]. Transcription factors can regulate multiple related downstream genes, which are essential components of the cellular machinery and play key roles in plant growth and development [49]. In the present study, 131 transcription factors (182 DEGs) were found (Additional file 9: Table S7). Among these transcription factors, the top four largest families were bHLH (16), MYB (13), NAC (10), and WRKY (8) (Table 3). The bHLH proteins, which bind as dimers to specific DNA target sites, are a superfamily of transcription factors, and several of them are critical for tapetal PCD and pollen development [41]. MYB transcription factors are also known to be required for anther and aleurone layer development, callose dissolution, and exine formation [19, 50, 51]. NAC and WRKY transcription factors consist of a large gene family involved in a wide range of biological processes [48, 50], and some of them participate in pollen development (WRKY2, WRKY27; GPC, NST1) [48, 52, 53, 54]. Research over the past several years has demonstrated that changes in the expression of these transcription factors often cause male sterility [5, 19].

In addition, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), which encodes a MADS-box transcription factor and functions as a repressor of flowering [55], was noted in our comparative analysis (CL3897.Contig1; Additional file 9: Table S7). It has been reported that overexpression of this gene from B. campestris could affect fertility by the GA pathway in Arabidopsis [56]. However, in our study, we found that the FLC gene was downregulated in sterile buds, and several identified genes involved in stamens (AP3) [57] and the male gametophyte (AGL18 and AGL104) [58, 59] (Fig. 6; Additional file 10: Table S8) were downstream targets of FLC (Fig. 7). Among these genes, AGL18 and AGL104 showed low expression in fertile buds (Fig. 6; Additional file 10: Table S8). We speculated that the downregulation of FLC, which is associated with male infertility, might influence the expression of key genes in anther and pollen development, along with other fertility related genes (Fig. 7). This hypothesis must be further verified.

Taken together, the present investigation of the transcriptome could increase our knowledge and understanding of the molecular mechanisms of male sterile in Wucai and provide numerous candidate genes that can be verified through transgenic technology in future.

Conclusions

In this study, a comparative transcriptome analysis of sterile and fertile buds from Wucai was performed through an Illumina sequencing approach, and the different biological processes and genes that regulated anther and pollen development were analyzed using comparative analysis. As a result, a total of 4430 DEGs, 174 novel genes, 35 anther and pollen development related genes, and 47 transcription factors (the top four largest families) were revealed. The RNA-Seq analysis was further confirmed through qRT-PCR. Based on the functional annotation and expression patterns, it was concluded that the occurrence of male sterility is probably related to the functional and metabolic abnormalities of these candidate DEGs in Wucai. These transcriptome data will be important to serve as a reference and provide insights for future elucidation of male sterility in Wucai.

Materials and Methods

Plant materials

Buds from near-isogenic lines of Wucai, CMS line 12-14A and its maintainer line 12-14B (Fig. 1a and b), were used as the plant materials in this study. Backcrossed continuously for over ten generations, the male sterile line 12-14A of Wucai was generated from a CMS line of nonheading Chinese cabbage. The sterile line 12-14A and its maintainer line, 12-14B, were planted in the vegetable breeding fields of Anhui Agricultural University (Hefei, Anhui Province, China; longitude 117°14′E, latitude 31°52’N) from October until April of the following year.

Morphological and cytological observations

At the full-bloom stage, the flower structures of the CMS and fertile lines were observed using a Canon EOS550D digital camera (Canon, Japan), and the images from petals and stamens were captured with an Olympus SZX10 stereomicroscope (Olympus, Japan). The sections of flower buds from the CMS and fertile plants were obtained following the method described by Peng et al. [60]. The semithin sections were observed and photographed using an Olympus BX61 light microscope (Olympus, Japan) equipped with a Mshot MD30 camera (Olympus, Japan).

RNA extraction and Illumina sequencing

In this experiment, the buds of the sterile or fertile lines were collected from three different plants, respectively. According to the methods of Huang et al. [25], total RNA was isolated from the mixed bud samples using the TRIzol Reagent Kit (Invitrogen, USA) and purified using the Dynabeads® mRNA Purification Kit (Ambion, USA). The isolated RNA samples were sent to 1GENE Technology Co., Ltd. (Hangzhou, China; http://www.1gene.com.cn/) for Illumina sequencing (Illumina MiSeq platform) and unigene annotation. The raw transcriptome data of six samples from three biological replicates of sterile or fertile lines were deposited in the NCBI Short Read Archive (SRA, accession number: SRP145484).

De novo assembly and functional annotation analysis

The paired-end clean reads of each sample were de novo assembled into contigs using Trinity (http://trinityrnaseq.sourseforge.net), and the nonredundant unigenes were further obtained with the TGI Clustering tools [61]. Among these unigenes, there were several unigenes with a high degree of similarity (more than 70%) in the same cluster (starting with CL, followed by the gene family’s number); the rest were singletons (starting with Unigene), which had low similarity (less than 70%) or no similarity and could not be clustered with each other. Then, functional annotation of the unigenes was performed using BLASTX alignment (E-value<1e-5) in the nonredundant (nr), Swiss-Prot, and COG databases. With the nr annotations, the Gene Ontology (GO) annotations of the unigenes were obtained through the Blast2GO program [62], and GO functional classification was carried out with the WEGO software [63]. The KEGG pathway annotation was performed using a BLAST search against the KEGG database (KEGG, http://www.genome.jp/kegg/).

Differentially expressed gene (DEG) identification

Reads per kilobase per million reads (RPKM) was adopted to compare the differences in unigene expression between the sterile and fertile lines. The DEGs were identified by a false discovery rate (FDR) ≤0.001 and an absolute value of log2 ratio ≥ 1 (ratio = the fold change of differential expression) [13]. The DEGs were used for GO and KEGG enrichment analyses according to the method described by An et al. [14] and Liu et al. [13].

Quantitative real-time PCR verification

RNA was isolated from different samples as described above. The DNase-treated RNA (1 mg) was reverse transcribed to cDNA using the PrimeScript™ RT Reagent Kit (TaKaRa, Japan). Quantitative real-time PCR was then performed with the SYBR® Premix Ex Taq™ II Kit (TaKaRa, Japan). The specific primers designed based on the selected DEG sequences are listed in Additional file 11: Table S9. PCR amplification was performed in the Bio-Rad CFX96 instrument according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Data normalization was carried out using the expression levels of Actin as the internal control. Three biological repeats for each sample and three technical replicates for each gene were performed, and the relative expression level was calculated as 2-ΔΔCt.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Heat map analysis was performed using the OmicShare tools (http://www.omicshare.com/tools) and the R software (R i386 3.4.2).

Funding

National Key R & D Program of China (2017YFD0101803).

Provincial Science and Technology Major Project of Anhui (17030701013).

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31801853, 31701910).

Major (KJ2017ZD15) and Key (KJ2017A153) Projects of Natural Science Research Funds in Support of Colleges.

Availability of data and materials

The raw RNA-Seq data used in this study have been deposited in the Nation Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database under the accession number SRP145484 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sra/SRP145484).

Authors’ contributions

CW is the project leader. GC designed the experiments, and wrote the manuscript. GC and CW designed the experiment. GC and XY carried out the experiments. SZ, LY and JH supervised the study and SZ helped perform the experiments. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary material

12864_2018_5331_MOESM1_ESM.xls (18 kb)
Additional file 1: Table S1. Summary of de novo transcriptome assembly. (XLS 18 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM2_ESM.xls (18 kb)
Additional file 2: Table S2. Statistics of annotation results. (XLS 18 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM3_ESM.doc (516 kb)
Additional file 3: Figure S1. Characteristics of homology search of Illumina sequences against the NR database. (DOC 505 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM4_ESM.xls (3.9 mb)
Additional file 4: Table S3. All DEGs between sterile and fertile buds. (XLS 5575 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM5_ESM.xls (36 kb)
Additional file 5: Table S4. Novel genes. (XLS 50 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM6_ESM.doc (201 kb)
Additional file 6: Figure S2. Gene Ontology (GO) assignment. of DEGs. (DOC 190 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM7_ESM.xls (25 kb)
Additional file 7: Table S5. Statistics of DEGs matched in KEGG pathways. (XLS 41 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM8_ESM.xls (32 kb)
Additional file 8: Table S6. DEGs associated with starch and sucrose metabolism. (XLS 46 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM9_ESM.xls (44 kb)
Additional file 9: Table S7. Annotation and relative expression of differentially expressed transcription factors in Wucai. (XLS 60 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM10_ESM.xls (8 kb)
Additional file 10: Table S8. Flowering genes identified from the DEGs. (XLS 21 kb)
12864_2018_5331_MOESM11_ESM.xls (12 kb)
Additional file 11: Table S9. Primers used in this study. (XLS 26 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vegetable Genetics and Breeding Laboratory, College of HorticultureAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina
  2. 2.Anhui Provincial Engineering Laboratory of Horticultural Crop BreedingHefeiChina

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