RNA-Seq transcriptomic analysis of the Morus alba L. leaves exposed to high-level UVB with or without dark treatment

Gene. 2018 Mar 1;645:60-68. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2017.12.045. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiation induces oxidative stress in plant cells due to the generation of excessive reactive oxygen species. Morus alba L. (M. abla) is an important medicinal plant used for the treatment of human diseases. Also, its leaves are widely used as food for silkworms. In our previous research, we found that a high level of UVB irradiation with dark incubation led to the accumulation of secondary metabolites in M. abla leaf. The aim of the present study was to describe and compare M. alba leaf transcriptomics with different treatments (control, UVB, UVB+dark). Leaf transcripts from M. alba were sequenced using an Illumina Hiseq 2000 system, which produced 14.27Gb of data including 153,204,462 paired-end reads among the three libraries. We de novo assembled 133,002 transcripts with an average length of 1270bp and filtered 69,728 non-redundant unigenes. A similarity search was performed against the non-redundant National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) protein database, which returned 41.08% hits. Among the 20,040 unigenes annotated in UniProtKB/SwissProt database, 16,683 unigenes were assigned 102,232 gene ontology terms and 6667 unigenes were identified in 287 known metabolic pathways. Results of differential gene expression analysis together with real-time quantitative PCR tests indicated that UVB irradiation with dark incubation enhanced the flavonoid biosynthesis in M. alba leaf. Our findings provided a valuable proof for a better understanding of the metabolic mechanism under abiotic stresses in M. alba leaf.

Keywords: Dark incubation; De novo; Morus alba L. leaves; RNA-Seq; UVB.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein
  • Flavonoids / biosynthesis
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects
  • Gene Ontology
  • Morus / genetics
  • Morus / metabolism
  • Morus / radiation effects*
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / radiation effects
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / radiation effects
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Proteins