Transcriptomic Changes in Internode Explants of Stinging Nettle during Callogenesis

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 15;22(22):12319. doi: 10.3390/ijms222212319.


Callogenesis, the process during which explants derived from differentiated plant tissues are subjected to a trans-differentiation step characterized by the proliferation of a mass of cells, is fundamental to indirect organogenesis and the establishment of cell suspension cultures. Therefore, understanding how callogenesis takes place is helpful to plant tissue culture, as well as to plant biotechnology and bioprocess engineering. The common herbaceous plant stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) is a species producing cellulosic fibres (the bast fibres) and a whole array of phytochemicals for pharmacological, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical use. Thus, it is of interest as a potential multi-purpose plant. In this study, callogenesis in internode explants of a nettle fibre clone (clone 13) was studied using RNA-Seq to understand which gene ontologies predominate at different time points. Callogenesis was induced with the plant growth regulators α-napthaleneacetic acid (NAA) and 6-benzyl aminopurine (BAP) after having determined their optimal concentrations. The process was studied over a period of 34 days, a time point at which a well-visible callus mass developed on the explants. The bioinformatic analysis of the transcriptomic dataset revealed specific gene ontologies characterizing each of the four time points investigated (0, 1, 10 and 34 days). The results show that, while the advanced stage of callogenesis is characterized by the iron deficiency response triggered by the high levels of reactive oxygen species accumulated by the proliferating cell mass, the intermediate and early phases are dominated by ontologies related to the immune response and cell wall loosening, respectively.

Keywords: callogenesis; plant growth regulators; qPCR; stinging nettle; transcriptomics.

MeSH terms

  • Benzyl Compounds / metabolism
  • Benzyl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Plant Development / genetics*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Purines / metabolism
  • Purines / pharmacology
  • RNA-Seq / methods
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Urtica dioica / cytology
  • Urtica dioica / genetics*
  • Urtica dioica / growth & development*
  • Urtica dioica / metabolism


  • Benzyl Compounds
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Purines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Iron
  • benzylaminopurine