Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Revealing the Potential Mechanism of Low-Temperature Stress in Machilus microcarpa

Front Plant Sci. 2022 Jul 19;13:900870. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.900870. eCollection 2022.


Machilus microcarpa is a rare national tree species in China and possesses important ornamental and ecological value. M. microcarpa can be planted in low-temperature areas, depending on whether its seedlings can withstand the harm. To face this problem, the annual seedlings of M. microcarpa were subjected to five temperature treatments, and eight physiological indicators were measured. Furthermore, comparative transcriptome analysis was performed between M. microcarpa leaves treated at 25°C and -2.8°C. A total of 9,385 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were involved in low-temperature stress in M. microcarpa. An upregulated (cobA) and five downregulated (HEM, CHLM, CRD, CLH, and PORA) genes associated with the porphyrin and chlorophyll metabolism pathway may reduce chlorophyll synthesis under low-temperature stress. Upregulation of six DEGs (two GAPDHs, PFK, PGAM, PDC, and PK) involved in the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway provided energy for M. microcarpa under adverse cold conditions. Thirteen upregulated and seven downregulated genes related to antioxidant enzymes were also observed under low-temperature stress. Candidate transcription factors (TFs) played key roles in signal transduction under low-temperature stress in M. microcarpa, and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis validated the RNA-seq data. The results provide valuable information for further studies on the cold response mechanisms for low-temperature stress in M. microcarpa.

Keywords: Machilus microcarpa; RNA-Seq; cold tolerance; differentially expressed genes; transcriptome.