Comparative transcriptome analysis of Rheum australe, an endangered medicinal herb, growing in its natural habitat and those grown in controlled growth chambers

Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 12;11(1):3702. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79020-8.


Rheum australe is an endangered medicinal herb of high altitude alpine region of Himalayas and is known to possess anti-cancerous properties. Unlike many herbs of the region, R. australe has broad leaves. The species thrives well under the environmental extremes in its niche habitat, therefore an understanding of transcriptome of R. australe to environmental cues was of significance. Since, temperature is one of the major environmental variables in the niche of R. australe, transcriptome was studied in the species growing in natural habitat and those grown in growth chambers maintained at 4 °C and 25 °C to understand genes associated with different temperatures. A total of 39,136 primarily assembled transcripts were obtained from 10,17,74,336 clean read, and 21,303 unigenes could match to public databases. An analysis of transcriptome by fragments per kilobase of transcript per million, followed by validation through qRT-PCR showed 22.4% up- and 22.5% down-regulated common differentially expressed genes in the species growing under natural habitat and at 4 °C as compared to those at 25 °C. These genes largely belonged to signaling pathway, transporters, secondary metabolites, phytohormones, and those associated with cellular protection, suggesting their importance in imparting adaptive advantage to R. australe in its niche.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Endangered Species*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • India
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism
  • Rheum / metabolism*
  • Temperature
  • Transcriptome*