Background: Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) grows in a range of different climates in the southwestern Mediterranean region and the existence of a variety of latitudinal ecotypes or provenances is well established. In this study, we have conducted a deep analysis of the transcriptome in needles from two P. pinaster provenances, Leiria (Portugal) and Tamrabta (Morocco), which were grown in northern Spain under the same conditions.
Results: An oligonucleotide microarray (PINARRAY3) and RNA-Seq were used for whole-transcriptome analyses, and we found that 90.95% of the data were concordant between the two platforms. Furthermore, the two methods identified very similar percentages of differentially expressed genes with values of 5.5% for PINARRAY3 and 5.7% for RNA-Seq. In total, 6,023 transcripts were shared and 88 differentially expressed genes overlapped in the two platforms. Among the differentially expressed genes, all transport related genes except aquaporins were expressed at higher levels in Tamrabta than in Leiria. In contrast, genes involved in secondary metabolism were expressed at higher levels in Tamrabta, and photosynthesis-related genes were expressed more highly in Leiria. The genes involved in light sensing in plants were well represented in the differentially expressed groups of genes. In addition, increased levels of hormones such as abscisic acid, gibberellins, jasmonic and salicylic acid were observed in Leiria.
Conclusions: Both transcriptome platforms have proven to be useful resources, showing complementary and reliable results. The results presented here highlight the different abilities of the two maritime pine populations to sense environmental conditions and reveal one type of regulation that can be ascribed to different genetic and epigenetic backgrounds.