Comparative transcriptome analysis indicates conversion of stamens into pistil-like structures in male sterile wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) with Aegilops crassa cytoplasm

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Abstract

Background: Aegilops crassa cytoplasm is an important source for investigating cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS). Moreover, the stamens of line C303A exhibit a high degree of pistillody, turning almost white. However, the molecular mechanism that underlies pistillody in C303A remains unclear. Therefore, to obtain a better understanding of pistillody in C303A, the phenotypic and cytological features of C303A were observed to identify the key stage for the homeotic transformation of stamens into pistil-like structures. Transcriptome profiles were determined for stamens using Illumina RNA sequencing. Results: Morphological observations of the CMS wheat line with Aegilops crassa cytoplasm C303A showed that the pistils developed normally, but the stamens were ultimately aborted and they released no pollen when mature. According to paraffin section observations, the stamens began to transform into pistils or pistil-like structures in the binucleate stage (BNS). Therefore, the stamens were collected from line C303A and its maintainer 303B in the BNS for transcriptome sequencing. In total, 20,444 wheat genes were determined as differentially expressed in C303A and 303B stamens, with 10,283 upregulated and 10,161 downregulated genes. Gene Ontology enrichment analyses showed that most of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were annotated with GO terms comprising metabolic process, cell, cellular process, catalytic activity, and cell part. Analysis based on the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes database showed that the enriched DEGs were mainly associated with energy metabolism. We also found several essential genes that may contribute to pistillody in C303A. These findings suggest that disrupted energy metabolism and reactive oxygen metabolism induce pistillody and eventually lead to abortion in C303A. Conclusion: We determined the complex transcriptome profiles for C303A stamens and demonstrated that disrupted energy metabolism and class B MADS-box genes are related to pistillody. These findings may facilitate future studies of the mechanistic response of the wheat stamen and pollen development in CMS.

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Liu, Q., Liu, Z., Li, W., & Song, X. (2020). Comparative transcriptome analysis indicates conversion of stamens into pistil-like structures in male sterile wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) with Aegilops crassa cytoplasm. BMC Genomics, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-6450-2

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