Transcriptome and metabolome profiling of field-grown transgenic barley lack induced differences but show cultivar-specific variances

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6198-203. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1001945107. Epub 2010 Mar 22.


The aim of the present study was to assess possible adverse effects of transgene expression in leaves of field-grown barley relative to the influence of genetic background and the effect of plant interaction with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We conducted transcript profiling, metabolome profiling, and metabolic fingerprinting of wild-type accessions and barley transgenics with seed-specific expression of (1,3-1, 4)-beta-glucanase (GluB) in Baronesse (B) as well as of transgenics in Golden Promise (GP) background with ubiquitous expression of codon-optimized Trichoderma harzianum endochitinase (ChGP). We found more than 1,600 differential transcripts between varieties GP and B, with defense genes being strongly overrepresented in B, indicating a divergent response to subclinical pathogen challenge in the field. In contrast, no statistically significant differences between ChGP and GP could be detected based on transcriptome or metabolome analysis, although 22 genes and 4 metabolites were differentially abundant when comparing GluB and B, leading to the distinction of these two genotypes in principle component analysis. The coregulation of most of these genes in GluB and GP, as well as simple sequence repeat-marker analysis, suggests that the distinctive alleles in GluB are inherited from GP. Thus, the effect of the two investigated transgenes on the global transcript profile is substantially lower than the effect of a minor number of alleles that differ as a consequence of crop breeding. Exposing roots to the spores of the mycorrhizal Glomus sp. had little effect on the leaf transcriptome, but central leaf metabolism was consistently altered in all genotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Glucan 1,3-beta-Glucosidase / genetics
  • Glucan 1,3-beta-Glucosidase / metabolism
  • Hordeum / genetics*
  • Hordeum / metabolism*
  • Metabolome
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • Glucan 1,3-beta-Glucosidase

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE19296