Characterization of expressed sequence tags obtained by SSH during somatic embryogenesis in Cichorium intybus L.
Sylvain Legrand, Theo Hendriks, Jean-Louis Hilbert and Marie-Christine Quillet
Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is an asexual propagation pathway requiring a somatic-to-embryonic transition of differentiated somatic cells toward embryogenic cells capable of producing embryos in a process resembling zygotic embryogenesis. In chicory, genetic variability with respect to the formation of somatic embryos was detected between plants from a population of Cichorium intybus L. landrace Koospol. Though all plants from this population were self incompatible, we managed by repeated selfing to obtain a few seeds from one highly embryogenic (E) plant, K59. Among the plants grown from these seeds, one plant, C15, was found to be non-embryogenic (NE) under our SE-inducing conditions. Being closely related, we decided to exploit the difference in SE capacity between K59 and its descendant C15 to study gene expression during the early stages of SE in chicory.
Cytological analysis indicated that in K59 leaf explants the first cell divisions leading to SE were observed at day 4 of culture. In contrast, in C15 explants no cell divisions were observed and SE development seemed arrested before cell reactivation. Using mRNAs isolated from leaf explants from both genotypes after 4 days of culture under SE-inducing conditions, an E and a NE cDNA-library were generated by SSH. A total of 3,348 ESTs from both libraries turned out to represent a maximum of 2,077 genes. In silico subtraction analysis sorted only 33 genes as differentially expressed in the E or NE genotype, indicating that SSH had resulted in an effective normalisation. Real-time RT-PCR was used to verify the expression levels of 48 genes represented by ESTs from either library. The results showed preferential expression of genes related to protein synthesis and cell division in the E genotype, and related to defence in the NE genotype.
In accordance with the cytological observations, mRNA levels in explants from K59 and C15 collected at day 4 of SE culture reflected differential gene expression that presumably are related to processes accompanying early stages of direct SE. The E and NE library obtained thus represent important tools for subsequent detailed analysis of molecular mechanisms underlying this process in chicory, and its genetic control.
BMC Plant Biology 2007, 7:27.
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