Background: Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is grown throughout the world and comprises roughly 50% of the grain legumes consumed worldwide. Despite this, genetic resources for common beans have been lacking. Next generation sequencing, has facilitated our investigation of the gene expression profiles associated with biologically important traits in common bean. An increased understanding of gene expression in common bean will improve our understanding of gene expression patterns in other legume species.
Results: Combining recently developed genomic resources for Phaseolus vulgaris, including predicted gene calls, with RNA-Seq technology, we measured the gene expression patterns from 24 samples collected from seven tissues at developmentally important stages and from three nitrogen treatments. Gene expression patterns throughout the plant were analyzed to better understand changes due to nodulation, seed development, and nitrogen utilization. We have identified 11,010 genes differentially expressed with a fold change ≥ 2 and a P-value < 0.05 between different tissues at the same time point, 15,752 genes differentially expressed within a tissue due to changes in development, and 2,315 genes expressed only in a single tissue. These analyses identified 2,970 genes with expression patterns that appear to be directly dependent on the source of available nitrogen. Finally, we have assembled this data in a publicly available database, The Phaseolus vulgaris Gene Expression Atlas (Pv GEA), http://plantgrn.noble.org/PvGEA/ . Using the website, researchers can query gene expression profiles of their gene of interest, search for genes expressed in different tissues, or download the dataset in a tabular form.
Conclusions: These data provide the basis for a gene expression atlas, which will facilitate functional genomic studies in common bean. Analysis of this dataset has identified genes important in regulating seed composition and has increased our understanding of nodulation and impact of the nitrogen source on assimilation and distribution throughout the plant.