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BMC Genomics. 2019 Nov 15;20(1):865. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-6250-8.

Integrated transcriptome and miRNA analysis uncovers molecular regulators of aerial stem-to-rhizome transition in the medical herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum.

Author information

1
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35, Tsing Hua East Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100083, China.
2
College of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Jishou University, Jishou, 416000, China.
3
Analytical and Testing Center, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, 100083, China.
4
Centre for Imaging & Systems Biology, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing, China.
5
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35, Tsing Hua East Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100083, China. guohh@bjfu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Gynostemma pentaphyllum is an important perennial medicinal herb belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. Aerial stem-to-rhizome transition before entering the winter is an adaptive regenerative strategy in G. pentaphyllum that enables it to survive during winter. However, the molecular regulation of aerial stem-to-rhizome transition is unknown in plants. Here, integrated transcriptome and miRNA analysis was conducted to investigate the regulatory network of stem-to-rhizome transition.

RESULTS:

Nine transcriptome libraries prepared from stem/rhizome samples collected at three stages of developmental stem-to-rhizome transition were sequenced and a total of 5428 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. DEGs associated with gravitropism, cell wall biosynthesis, photoperiod, hormone signaling, and carbohydrate metabolism were found to regulate stem-to-rhizome transition. Nine small RNA libraries were parallelly sequenced, and seven significantly differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) were identified, including four known and three novel miRNAs. The seven DEMs targeted 123 mRNAs, and six pairs of miRNA-target showed significantly opposite expression trends. The GpmiR166b-GpECH2 module involved in stem-to-rhizome transition probably promotes cell expansion by IBA-to-IAA conversion, and the GpmiR166e-GpSGT-like module probably protects IAA from degradation, thereby promoting rhizome formation. GpmiR156a was found to be involved in stem-to-rhizome transition by inhibiting the expression of GpSPL13A/GpSPL6, which are believed to negatively regulate vegetative phase transition. GpmiR156a and a novel miRNA Co.47071 co-repressed the expression of growth inhibitor GpRAV-like during stem-to-rhizome transition. These miRNAs and their targets were first reported to be involved in the formation of rhizomes. In this study, the expression patterns of DEGs, DEMs and their targets were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR, supporting the reliability of sequencing data.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study revealed a comprehensive molecular network regulating the transition of aerial stem to rhizome in G. pentaphyllum. These results broaden our understanding of developmental phase transitions in plants.

KEYWORDS:

Aerial stem-to-rhizome transition; Gynostemma pentaphyllum; Integrated analysis; Transcriptome; miRNAs

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