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Floral Transcriptomes in Woodland Strawberry Uncover Developing Receptacle and Anther Gene Networks

Courtney A. Hollender, Chunying Kang, Omar Darwish, Aviva Geretz, Benjamin F. Matthews, Janet Slovin, Nadim Alkharouf, Zhongchi Liu
Plant physiology 2014 v.165 no.3 pp. 1062-1075
Fragaria vesca, anthers, flowers, fruiting, fruits, gene expression, messenger RNA, regulator genes, strawberries, transcriptome
Flowers are reproductive organs and precursors to fruits and seeds. While the basic tenets of the ABCE model of flower development are conserved in angiosperms, different flowering plants exhibit different and sometimes unique characteristics. A distinct feature of strawberry (Fragaria spp.) flowers is the development of several hundreds of individual apocarpous (unfused) carpels. These individual carpels are arranged in a spiral pattern on the subtending stem tip, the receptacle. Therefore, the receptacle is an integral part of the strawberry flower and is of significant agronomic importance, being the precursor to strawberry fruit. Taking advantage of next-generation sequencing and laser capture microdissection, we generated different tissue- and stage-transcriptomic profiling of woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) flower development. Using pairwise comparisons and weighted gene coexpression network analysis, we identified modules of coexpressed genes and hub genes of tissue-specific networks. Of particular importance is the discovery of a developing receptacle-specific module exhibiting similar molecular features to those of young floral meristems. The strawberry homologs of a number of meristem regulators, including LOST MERISTEM and WUSCHEL, are identified as hub genes operating in the developing receptacle network. Furthermore, almost 25% of the F-box genes in the genome are transiently induced in developing anthers at the meiosis stage, indicating active protein degradation. Together, this work provides important insights into the molecular networks underlying strawberry’s unique reproductive developmental processes. This extensive floral transcriptome data set is publicly available and can be readily queried at the project Web site, serving as an important genomic resource for the plant biology research community.