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PeerJ. 2018 Sep 26;6:e5681. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5681. eCollection 2018.

De novo transcriptome sequencing and analysis of genes related to salt stress response in Glehnia littoralis.

Li L1, Li M1, Qi X1, Tang X2, Zhou Y1,2,3,4.

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Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China.
Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.
Dongtai Institute of Tidal Flat, Nanjing Branch of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dongtai, China.
The Jiangsu Provincial Platform for Conservation and Utilization of Agricultural Germplasm, Nanjing, China.


Soil salinity is one of the major environmental stresses affecting plant growth, development, and reproduction. Salt stress also affects the accumulation of some secondary metabolites in plants. Glehnia littoralis is an endangered medicinal halophyte that grows in coastal habitats. Peeled and dried Glehnia littoralis roots, named Radix Glehniae, have been used traditionally as a Chinese herbal medicine. Although Glehnia littoralis has great ecological and commercial value, salt-related mechanisms in Glehnia littoralis remain largely unknown. In this study, we analysed the transcriptome of Glehnia littoralis in response to salt stress by RNA-sequencing to identify potential salt tolerance gene networks. After de novo assembly, we obtained 105,875 unigenes, of which 75,559 were annotated in public databases. We identified 10,335 differentially expressed genes (DEGs; false discovery rate <0.05 and |log2 fold-change| ≥ 1) between NaCl treatment (GL2) and control (GL1), with 5,018 upregulated and 5,317 downregulated DEGs. To further this investigation, we performed Gene Ontology (GO) analysis and the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis. DEGs involved in secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways, plant signal transduction pathways, and transcription factors in response to salt stress were analysed. In addition, we tested the gene expression of 15 unigenes by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) to confirm the RNA-sequencing results. Our findings represent a large-scale assessment of the Glehnia littoralis gene resource, and provide useful information for exploring its molecular mechanisms of salt tolerance. Moreover, genes enriched in metabolic pathways could be used to investigate potential biosynthetic pathways of active compounds by Glehnia littoralis.


Gene; Glehnia littoralis; Salt stress; Transcriptome analysis

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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