Background: Previous transcriptome profiling studies have investigated the molecular mechanisms of pollen and anther development, and identified many genes involved in these processes. However, only 51 anther ESTs of Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) were found in NCBI and there have been no reports of transcriptome profiling analyzing anther development in Upland cotton, a major fiber crop in the word.
Methodology/principal finding: Ninety-eight hundred and ninety-six high quality ESTs were sequenced from their 3'-ends and assembled into 6,643 unigenes from a normalized, full-length anther cDNA library of Upland cotton. Combined with previous sequenced anther-related ESTs, 12,244 unigenes were generated as the reference genes for digital gene expression (DGE) analysis. The DGE was conducted on anthers that were isolated at tetrad pollen (TTP), uninucleate pollen (UNP), binucleate pollen (BNP) and mature pollen (MTP) periods along with four other tissues, i.e., roots (RO), stems (ST), leaves (LV) and embryos (EB). Through transcriptome profiling analysis, we identified 1,165 genes that were enriched at certain anther development periods, and many of them were involved in starch and sucrose metabolism, pentose and glucuronate interconversion, flavonoid biosynthesis, and ascorbate and aldarate metabolism.
Conclusions/significance: We first generated a normalized, full-length cDNA library from anthers and performed transcriptome profiling analysis of anther development in Upland cotton. From these results, 10,178 anther expressed genes were identified, among which 1,165 genes were stage-enriched in anthers. And many of these stage-enriched genes were involved in some important processes regulating anther development.