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Exploring the adaptive mechanism of Passiflora edulis in karst areas via an integrative analysis of nutrient elements and transcriptional profiles

Xu, Mengxuan, Li, Anding, Teng, Yao, Sun, Zimou, Xu, Meng
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 185
Passiflora edulis, biosynthesis, cDNA libraries, cold tolerance, complementary DNA, databases, desertification, dolomite, gene expression regulation, karsts, limestone, passion fruits, plant hormones, sequence analysis, signal transduction, soil, temperature, transcription (genetics), transcriptome, unigenes, unsaturated fatty acids, China, South America
BACKGROUND: Passiflora edulis, known as passion fruit and native to South America, is now widely cultivated throughout southern China for its edible value, medicinal efficacy and ornamental properties. We have developed a cold-tolerant variety of P. edulis (‘Pingtang 1’) that can survive subzero temperatures and is highly adaptable in Karst areas. In this study, cuttings of ‘Pingtang 1’ were cultivated in a limestone (L) rocky desertification area and a sandy dolomite (D) rock desertification area. Changes in nutrient elements in both the soils and plants were revealed in the two plots. Moreover, RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed to profile the root transcriptomes for further exploration of nutrient adaptative mechanism of Passiflora edulis in Karst regions. RESULTS: In this study, a total of, 244,705,162 clean reads were generated from four cDNA libraries and assembled into 84,198 unigenes, of which 56,962 were annotated by publicly available databases. Transcriptome profiles were generated, and 1314 unigenes (531 upregulated and 801 downregulated) were significantly differentially expressed between the L and D root cDNA libraries (L_R and D_R, respectively); these profiles provide a global overview of the gene expression patterns associated with P. edulis adaptability to Karst soils. Most unigenes including a number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were involved in nutrient element uptake, utilization, signal regulation. And DEGs enriched in KEGG pathways of plant hormone signal transduction, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, and biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids were significantly expressed. CONCLUSION: These results could contribute to better understanding the adaptation of this species to environmental stress and thus enhance the potential for successfully introducing and commercially deploying P. edulis.