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Transcriptome analysis unravels spatiotemporal modulation of phytohormone-pathway expression underlying gibberellin-induced parthenocarpic fruit set in San Pedro-type fig (Ficus carica L.)

Chai, Lijuan, Chai, Peng, Chen, Shangwu, Flaishman, Moshe A., Ma, Huiqin
BMC plant biology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 100
Ficus carica, abscisic acid, abscission, cytokinins, ethylene, ethylene production, female flowers, figs, flowering, genes, gibberellic acid, indole acetic acid, metabolism, parthenocarpy, tissues, transcriptome, transcriptomics, zeatin
BACKGROUND: Gibberellin (GA) treatments can induce parthenocarpy in the main crop of San Pedro-type figs, the native non-parthenocarpic fruit, however, the underlying mechanism is still largely unclear. RESULTS: In our study, GA₃ was applied to San Pedro-type fig main crop at anthesis. Sharply increased GA₃ content was detected in both female flowers and receptacle, along with significantly decreased indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), zeatin and abscisic acid (ABA) levels in female flowers, and increased zeatin peak intensity and earlier ABA peak in receptacles. Transcriptome comparison between control and treatment groups identified more differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in receptacles than in female flowers 2 and 4 days after treatment (DAT); 10 DAT, the number of DEGs became similar in the two tissues. Synchronized changing trends of phytohormone-associated DEGs were observed in female flowers and receptacles with fruit development. Modulation of ethylene and GA signaling and auxin metabolism by exogenous GA₃ occurred mainly 2 DAT, whereas changes in auxin, cytokinin and ABA signaling occurred mainly 10 DAT. Auxin-, ethylene- and ABA-metabolism and response pathways were largely regulated in the two tissues, mostly 2 and 10 DAT. The major components altering fig phytohormone metabolic and response patterns included downregulated GA2ox, BAS1, NCED and ACO, and upregulated ABA 8′-h and AUX/IAA. CONCLUSIONS: Thus GA-induced parthenocarpy in fig is co-modulated by the female flowers and receptacle, and repression of ABA and ethylene biosynthesis and GA catabolism might be the main forces deflecting abscission and producing fig parthenocarpy.