Transcriptome Analysis of Japanese Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) Flower Buds Transitioning Through Endodormancy

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The transcriptomes of endodormant and ecodormant Japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai ‘Kosui’) flower buds were analyzed using RNA-seq technology and compared. Among de novo assembly of 114,191 unigenes, 76,995 unigenes were successfully annotated by BLAST searches against various databases. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis revealed that oxidoreductases were enriched in the molecular function category, a result consistent with previous observations of notable changes in hydrogen peroxide concentration during endodormancy release. In the GO categories related to biological process, the abundance of DNA methylation-related gene transcripts also significantly changed during endodormancy release, indicating the involvement of epigenetic regulation. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis also showed the changes in transcript abundance of genes involved in the metabolism of various phytohormones. Genes for both ABA and gibberellin biosynthesis were down-regulated, whereas the genes encoding their degradation enzymes were up-regulated during endodormancy release. In the ethylene pathway, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACS), a gene encoding the rate-limiting enzyme for ethylene biosynthesis, was induced towards endodormancy release. All of these results indicated the involvement of phytohormones in endodormancy release. Furthermore, the expression of dormancy-associated MADS-box (DAM) genes was down-regulated concomitant with endodormancy release, although changes in the abundance of these gene transcripts were not as significant as those identified by transcriptome analysis. Consequently, characterization of the Japanese pear transcriptome during the transition from endormancy to ecodormancy will provide researchers with useful information for data mining and will facilitate further experiments on endodormancy especially in rosaceae fruit trees.

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