Selection and validation of appropriate reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR analysis in Salvia hispanica

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Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) has become the most popular choice for gene expression studies. For accurate expression analysis, it is pertinent to select a stable reference gene to normalize the data. It is now known that the expression of internal reference genes varies considerably during developmental stages and under different experimental conditions. For Salvia hispanica, an economically important oilseed crop, there are no reports of stable reference genes till date. In this study, we chose 13 candidate reference genes viz. Actin11 (ACT), Elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1-α), Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3E (ETIF3E), alpha tubulin (α-TUB), beta tubulin (β-TUB), Glyceralde-hyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), Cyclophilin (CYP), Clathrin adaptor complex (CAC), Serine/threonine-protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), FtsH protease (FtsH), 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA), S-adenosyl methionine decarboxylase (SAMDC) and Rubisco activase (RCA) and the expression levels of these genes were assessed in a diverse set of tissue samples representing vegetative stages, reproductive stages and various abiotic stress treatments. Two of the widely used softwares, geNorm and Normfinder were used to evaluate the expression stabilities of these 13 candidate reference genes under different conditions. Results showed that GAPDH and CYP expression remain stable throughout in the different abiotic stress treatments, CAC and PP2A expression were relatively stable under reproductive stages and α-TUB, PP2A and ETIF3E were found to be stably expressed in vegetative stages. Further, the expression levels of Diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT1), a key enzyme in triacylglycerol synthesis was analyzed to confirm the validity of reference genes identified in the study. This is the first systematic study of selection of reference genes in S. hispanica, and will benefit future expression studies in this crop.




Gopalam, R., Rupwate, S. D., & Tumaney, A. W. (2017). Selection and validation of appropriate reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR analysis in Salvia hispanica. PLoS ONE, 12(11).

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