Downy mildew (DM), caused by pathogen Plasmopara viticola (PV) is the single most damaging disease of grapes (Vitis L.) worldwide. However, the mechanisms of the disease development in grapes are poorly understood. A method for estimating gene expression levels using Solexa sequencing of Type I restriction-endonuclease-generated cDNA fragments was used for deep sequencing the transcriptomes resulting from PV infected leaves of Vitis amurensis Rupr. cv. Zuoshan-1. Our goal is to identify genes that are involved in resistance to grape DM disease.
Approximately 8.5 million (M) 21-nt cDNA tags were sequenced in the cDNA library derived from PV pathogen-infected leaves, and about 7.5 M were sequenced from the cDNA library constructed from the control leaves. When annotated, a total of 15,249 putative genes were identified from the Solexa sequencing tags for the infection (INF) library and 14,549 for the control (CON) library. Comparative analysis between these two cDNA libraries showed about 0.9% of the unique tags increased by at least five-fold, and about 0.6% of the unique tags decreased more than five-fold in infected leaves, while 98.5% of the unique tags showed less than five-fold difference between the two samples. The expression levels of 12 differentially expressed genes were confirmed by Real-time RT-PCR and the trends observed agreed well with the Solexa expression profiles, although the degree of change was lower in amplitude. After pathway enrichment analysis, a set of significantly enriched pathways were identified for the differentially expressed genes (DEGs), which associated with ribosome structure, photosynthesis, amino acid and sugar metabolism.
This study presented a series of candidate genes and pathways that may contribute to DM resistance in grapes, and illustrated that the Solexa-based tag-sequencing approach was a powerful tool for gene expression comparison between control and treated samples.