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Transcriptomic Profiling Identifies Differentially Expressed Genes Associated With Programmed Cell Death Of Nucellar Cells In Ginkgo Biloba L.

Dahui Li, D. Wu, Shizhou Li, N. Guo, Junshan Gao, X. Sun, Yongping Cai
Published 2019 · Biology, Medicine

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BackgroundPreviously, we demonstrated that pollen chamber formation (PCF) in G. biloba ovules was a process of programmed cell death (PCD) within the nucellar cells at the micropylar end. However, the signal triggering the cascades of the programmed events in these nucellar cells remains unexplored.ResultsA transcriptomic strategy was employed to unravel the mechanism underlying the nucellar PCD via the comparative profiles of RNA-seq between pre-PCF and post-PCF ovules. A total of 5599 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with significance was identified from G. biloba ovules and classified into three main categories of GO annotation, including 17 biological processes, 15 cellular components and 17 molecular functions. KEGG analysis showed that 72 DEGs were enriched in “Plant hormone signal transduction”. Furthermore, 99 DEGs were found to be associated with the PCD process, including the genes involved in ethylene signaling pathway, PCD initiation, and PCD execution. Moreover, calcium-cytochemical localization indicated that calcium could play a role in regulating PCD events within the nucellar cells during pollen chamber formation in G. biloba ovules.ConclusionsA putative working model, consisting of three overlapping processes, is proposed for the nucellar PCD: at the stage of PCD preparation, ethylene signaling pathway is activated for transcriptional regulation of the downstream targets; subsequently, at the stage of PCD initiation, the upregulated expression of several transcription factors, i.e., NAC, bHLH, MADS-box, and MYB, further promotes the corresponding transcript levels of CYTOCHROME C and CALMODULINs, thereby, leads to the PCD initiation via the calcium-dependent signaling cascade; finally, at the stage of PCD execution, some proteases like metacaspases and vacuolar processing enzyme for hydrolysis, together with the process of autophagy, play roles in the clearance of cellular components. Afterwards, a pollen chamber is generated from the removal of specific nucellar cells in the developing ovule.
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