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Transcriptomic analyses reveal molecular mechanisms underlying growth heterosis and weakness of rubber tree seedlings

Yang, Hong, Wang, Xuncheng, Wei, Yongxuan, Deng, Zhi, Liu, Hui, Chen, Jiangshu, Dai, Longjun, Xia, Zhihui, He, Guangming, Li, Dejun
BMC plant biology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 10
Hevea brasiliensis, biochemical pathways, breeding, carbohydrate metabolism, gene expression regulation, genes, genotype, heterosis, hybrids, models, overdominance, parents, rubber, seedling growth, seedlings, transcriptome, transcriptomics
BACKGROUND: Breeding rubber tree seedling with growth heterosis is vital for natural rubber production. It is the prerequisites for effectively utilizing growth heterosis to elucidate its molecular mechanisms, but the molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood in rubber tree. To elucidate seedling growth heterosis, we conducted comparative transcriptomic analyses between the two hybrids and their parents. RESULTS: By identifying and comparing differently expressed genes (DEGs), we found that the hybrids (BT 3410 and WC 11) show significantly differential expression profiles from their parents (PR 107 and RRIM 600). In BT 3410-parent triad, 1092 (49.95%) and 1094 (50.05%) DEGs indicated clear underdominance or overdominance, respectively. Whereas in WC 11-parent triad, most DEGs (78.2%, 721) showed low- or high-parent dominance; 160 (17.35%) exhibited expression patterns that are not statistically distinguishable from additivity, and 8 (0.87%) and 33 (3.58%) DEGs exhibited underdominance and overdominance, respectively. Furthermore, some biological processes are differentially regulated between two hybrids. Interestingly, the pathway in response to stimulus is significantly downregulated and metabolic pathways are more highly regulated in BT 3410. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the genotypes, transcriptomes and biological pathways (especially, carbohydrate metabolism) are highly divergent between two hybrids, which may be associated with growth heterosis and weakness. Analyzing gene action models in hybrid-parent triads, we propose that overdominance may play important roles on growth heterosis, whereas dominance on hybrid weakness in rubber tree seedlings. These findings bring new insights into our understanding of growth heterosis of rubber tree seedling.