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The full-length transcriptome of Spartina alterniflora reveals the complexity of high salt tolerance in monocotyledonous halophyte

By Wenbin Ye, Taotao Wang, Wei Wei, Shuaitong Lou, Faxiu Lan, Sheng Zhu, Qinzhen Li, Guoli Ji, Chentao Lin, Xiaohui Wu, Liuyin Ma

Posted 24 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/680819 (published DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcaa013)

Spartina alterniflora (Spartina) is the only halophyte in the salt marsh. However, the molecular basis of its high salt tolerance remains elusive. In this study, we used PacBio full-length single molecule long-read sequencing and RNA-seq to elucidate the transcriptome dynamics of high salt tolerance in Spartina by salt-gradient experiments (0, 350, 500 and 800 mM NaCl). We systematically analyzed the gene expression diversity and deciphered possible roles of ion transporters, protein kinases and photosynthesis in salt tolerance. Moreover, the co-expression network analysis revealed several hub genes in salt stress regulatory networks, including protein kinases such as SaOST1, SaCIPK10 and three SaLRRs. Furthermore, high salt stress affected the gene expression of photosynthesis through down-regulation at the transcription level and alternative splicing at the post-transcriptional level. In addition, overexpression of two Spartina salt-tolerant genes SaHSP70-I and SaAF2 in Arabidopsis significantly promoted the salt tolerance of transgenic lines. Finally, we built the SAPacBio website for visualizing the full-length transcriptome sequences, transcription factors, ncRNAs, salt-tolerant genes, and alternative splicing events in Spartina. Overall, this study sheds light on the high salt tolerance mechanisms of monocotyledonous-halophyte and demonstrates the potential of Spartina genes for engineering salt-tolerant plants.

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