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The study of transcriptome sequencing for flower coloration in different anthesis stages of alpine ornamental herb (Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’)

Qu, Yan, Ou, Zhi, Yang, Fu-sheng, Wang, Shu, Peng, Jiansong
Gene 2019 v.689 pp. 220-226
Meconopsis, altitude, bioinformatics, cold, color, corolla, cracking, flowering, mechanical damage, mountains, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, transcriptomics, unigenes, China
Meconopsis (Papaveraceae) is an interesting alpine herb, mainly distributed in the mountainous area of southwest China and high altitude zone in Tibetan-Himalaya. Different Meconopsis species showed a flower color alteration in different anthesis stages, Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ is one of the localized species whose petal color changes from purple to blue during the flowering process. In general, the blue color flower is a rare kind, and usually hard to cultivate artificially. The molecular mechanism of flower color formation and color alteration of alpine flowers were reported by many research workers. To find critical genes that regulate Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ color alteration and the mechanism of environmental adaptation, the current study performed transcriptome sequencing by using Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ petals from different anthesis stages. There were totally 91,615 unigenes obtained from 31.4 Gb sequencing data, and differentially expressed genes between two consecutive flowering stages were obtained. Bioinformatics studies showed genes regulating petal color alteration were activated. Moreover, the functional analysis showed that Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ showed a stress response to mechanical damage, non-biological stimulation and water deficiency in the bud stage, as well as showed a stress response to the cold from cracking stage to blooming stage. Furthermore, RNA-Seq results were verified using nine randomly selected genes by qPCR, which showed same expression trend with sequencing results. During this study, 20 candidate genes identified for further studies, which included five petal color related genes and 15 environmental response genes.