De novo assembly and transcriptomic profiling of the grazing response in stipa grandis

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Background Stipa grandis (Poaceae) is one of the dominant species in a typical steppe of the Inner Mongolian Plateau. However, primarily due to heavy grazing, the grasslands have become seriously degraded, and S. grandis has developed a special growth-inhibition phenotype against the stressful habitat. Because of the lack of transcriptomic and genomic information, the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the grazing response of S. grandis has been prohibited. Results Using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform, two libraries prepared from non-grazing (FS) and overgrazing samples (OS) were sequenced. De novo assembly produced 94,674 unigenes, of which 65,047 unigenes had BLAST hits in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant (nr) database (E-value < 10-5). In total, 47,747, 26,156 and 40,842 unigenes were assigned to the Gene Ontology (GO), Clusters of Orthologous Group (COG), and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) databases, respectively. A total of 13,221 unigenes showed significant differences in expression under the overgrazing condition, with a threshold false discovery rate > 0.001 and an absolute value of log2Ratio > 1. These differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were assigned to 43,257 GO terms and were significantly enriched in 32 KEGG pathways (q-value > 0.05). The alterations in the wound-, drought- and defense-related genes indicate that stressors have an additive effect on the growth inhibition of this species. Conclusions This first large-scale transcriptome study will provide important information for further gene expression and functional genomics studies, and it facilitated our investigation of the molecular mechanisms of the S. grandis grazing response and the associated morphological and physiological characteristics.




Wan, D., Wan, Y., Hou, X., Ren, W., Ding, Y., & Sa, R. (2015). De novo assembly and transcriptomic profiling of the grazing response in stipa grandis. PLoS ONE, 10(4).

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