Selection of reliable reference genes for gene expression studies in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas using real-time quantitative PCR

Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Dec 13;14(12):24338-54. doi: 10.3390/ijms141224338.


Jatropha curcas is a promising renewable feedstock for biodiesel and bio-jet fuel production. To study gene expression in Jatropha in different tissues throughout development and under stress conditions, we examined a total of 11 typical candidate reference genes using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis, which is widely used for validating transcript levels in gene expression studies. The expression stability of these candidate reference genes was assessed across a total of 20 samples, including various tissues at vegetative and reproductive stages and under desiccation and cold stress treatments. The results obtained using software qBasePLUS showed that the top-ranked reference genes differed across the sample subsets. The combination of actin, GAPDH, and EF1α would be appropriate as a reference panel for normalizing gene expression data across samples at different developmental stages; the combination of actin, GAPDH, and TUB5 should be used as a reference panel for normalizing gene expression data across samples under various abiotic stress treatments. With regard to different developmental stages, we recommend the use of actin and TUB8 for normalization at the vegetative stage and GAPDH and EF1α for normalization at the reproductive stage. For abiotic stress treatments, we recommend the use of TUB5 and TUB8 for normalization under desiccation stress and GAPDH and actin for normalization under cold stress. These results are valuable for future research on gene expression during development or under abiotic stress in Jatropha. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the stability of reference genes in Jatropha.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Droughts
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Jatropha / genetics*
  • Jatropha / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Biofuels
  • Plant Proteins