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1.  Allelic diversity in the transcriptomes of contrasting rust-infected genotypes of Lathyrus sativus, a lasting resource for smart breeding 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:376.
Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) is a valuable resource for potentially durable partial resistance to rust. To gain insight into the resistance mechanism and identify potential resistance genes, we generated the first comprehensive transcriptome assemblies from control and Uromyces pisi inoculated leafs of a susceptible and a partially rust-resistant grass pea genotype by RNA-seq.
134,914 contigs, shared by both libraries, were used to analyse their differential expression in response to rust infection. Functional annotation grouped 60.4% of the contigs present in plant databases (37.8% of total) to 33 main functional categories, being “protein”, “RNA”, “signalling”, “transport” and “stress” the most represented. Transcription profiles revealed considerable differences in regulation of major phytohormone signalling pathways: whereas Salicylic and Abscisic Acid pathways were up-regulated in the resistant genotype, Jasmonate and Ethylene pathways were down-regulated in the susceptible one. As potential Resistance-genes we identified a mildew resistance locus O (MLO)-like gene, and MLO-related transcripts. Also, several pathogenesis-related genes were up-regulated in the resistant and exclusively down regulated in the susceptible genotype. Pathogen effectors identified in both inoculated libraries, as e.g. the rust Rtp1 transcript, may be responsible for the down-regulation of defence-related transcripts. The two genotypes contained 4,892 polymorphic contigs with SNPs unevenly distributed between different functional categories. Protein degradation (29.7%) and signalling receptor kinases (8.2%) were the most diverged, illustrating evolutionary adaptation of grass pea to the host/pathogens arms race.
The vast array of novel, resistance-related genomic information we present here provides a highly valuable resource for future smart breeding approaches in this hitherto under-researched, valuable legume crop.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0376-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4331309  PMID: 25522779
Grass pea; Partial resistance; Pathogen effectors; RNA-seq; SNP; Uromyces
2.  The salt-responsive transcriptome of chickpea roots and nodules via deepSuperSAGE 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:31.
The combination of high-throughput transcript profiling and next-generation sequencing technologies is a prerequisite for genome-wide comprehensive transcriptome analysis. Our recent innovation of deepSuperSAGE is based on an advanced SuperSAGE protocol and its combination with massively parallel pyrosequencing on Roche's 454 sequencing platform. As a demonstration of the power of this combination, we have chosen the salt stress transcriptomes of roots and nodules of the third most important legume crop chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). While our report is more technology-oriented, it nevertheless addresses a major world-wide problem for crops generally: high salinity. Together with low temperatures and water stress, high salinity is responsible for crop losses of millions of tons of various legume (and other) crops. Continuously deteriorating environmental conditions will combine with salinity stress to further compromise crop yields. As a good example for such stress-exposed crop plants, we started to characterize salt stress responses of chickpeas on the transcriptome level.
We used deepSuperSAGE to detect early global transcriptome changes in salt-stressed chickpea. The salt stress responses of 86,919 transcripts representing 17,918 unique 26 bp deepSuperSAGE tags (UniTags) from roots of the salt-tolerant variety INRAT-93 two hours after treatment with 25 mM NaCl were characterized. Additionally, the expression of 57,281 transcripts representing 13,115 UniTags was monitored in nodules of the same plants. From a total of 144,200 analyzed 26 bp tags in roots and nodules together, 21,401 unique transcripts were identified. Of these, only 363 and 106 specific transcripts, respectively, were commonly up- or down-regulated (>3.0-fold) under salt stress in both organs, witnessing a differential organ-specific response to stress.
Profiting from recent pioneer works on massive cDNA sequencing in chickpea, more than 9,400 UniTags were able to be linked to UniProt entries. Additionally, gene ontology (GO) categories over-representation analysis enabled to filter out enriched biological processes among the differentially expressed UniTags. Subsequently, the gathered information was further cross-checked with stress-related pathways.
From several filtered pathways, here we focus exemplarily on transcripts associated with the generation and scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as on transcripts involved in Na+ homeostasis. Although both processes are already very well characterized in other plants, the information generated in the present work is of high value. Information on expression profiles and sequence similarity for several hundreds of transcripts of potential interest is now available.
This report demonstrates, that the combination of the high-throughput transcriptome profiling technology SuperSAGE with one of the next-generation sequencing platforms allows deep insights into the first molecular reactions of a plant exposed to salinity. Cross validation with recent reports enriched the information about the salt stress dynamics of more than 9,000 chickpea ESTs, and enlarged their pool of alternative transcripts isoforms.
As an example for the high resolution of the employed technology that we coin deepSuperSAGE, we demonstrate that ROS-scavenging and -generating pathways undergo strong global transcriptome changes in chickpea roots and nodules already 2 hours after onset of moderate salt stress (25 mM NaCl). Additionally, a set of more than 15 candidate transcripts are proposed to be potential components of the salt overly sensitive (SOS) pathway in chickpea.
Newly identified transcript isoforms are potential targets for breeding novel cultivars with high salinity tolerance. We demonstrate that these targets can be integrated into breeding schemes by micro-arrays and RT-PCR assays downstream of the generation of 26 bp tags by SuperSAGE.
PMCID: PMC3045889  PMID: 21320317
3.  SuperSAGE analysis of the Nicotiana attenuata transcriptome after fatty acid-amino acid elicitation (FAC): identification of early mediators of insect responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:66.
Plants trigger and tailor defense responses after perception of the oral secretions (OS) of attacking specialist lepidopteran larvae. Fatty acid-amino acid conjugates (FACs) in the OS of the Manduca sexta larvae are necessary and sufficient to elicit the herbivory-specific responses in Nicotiana attenuata, an annual wild tobacco species. How FACs are perceived and activate signal transduction mechanisms is unknown.
We used SuperSAGE combined with 454 sequencing to quantify the early transcriptional changes elicited by the FAC N-linolenoyl-glutamic acid (18:3-Glu) and virus induced gene silencing (VIGS) to examine the function of candidate genes in the M. sexta-N. attenuata interaction. The analysis targeted mRNAs encoding regulatory components: rare transcripts with very rapid FAC-elicited kinetics (increases within 60 and declines within 120 min). From 12,744 unique Tag sequences identified (UniTags), 430 and 117 were significantly up- and down-regulated ≥ 2.5-fold, respectively, after 18:3-Glu elicitation compared to wounding. Based on gene ontology classification, more than 25% of the annotated UniTags corresponded to putative regulatory components, including 30 transcriptional regulators and 22 protein kinases. Quantitative PCR analysis was used to analyze the FAC-dependent regulation of a subset of 27 of these UniTags and for most of them a rapid and transient induction was confirmed. Six FAC-regulated genes were functionally characterized by VIGS and two, a putative lipid phosphate phosphatase (LPP) and a protein of unknown function, were identified as important mediators of the M. sexta-N. attenuata interaction.
The analysis of the early changes in the transcriptome of N. attenuata after FAC elicitation using SuperSAGE/454 has identified regulatory genes involved in insect-specific mediated responses in plants. Moreover, it has provided a foundation for the identification of additional novel regulators associated with this process.
PMCID: PMC3095340  PMID: 20398280

Results 1-3 (3)