Author(s): Legrand S, Valot N, Nicol F, Moja S, Baudino S,
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Abstract The outermost floral whorl, composed of sepals, is generally thought to function in the protection of reproductive tissues. In the plant family Lamiaceae, sepals are fused into a tube that is densely covered by hairs for mechanical defence and contains secondary metabolites for chemical defence against insects and abiotic stresses. Despite the importance of this tissue in plant fitness, virtually no study has addressed the basic aspects of sepal development and functioning. Because of its large size and its impressive metabolic activity (both in terms of quantity and diversity of secondary metabolites), we have used clary sage calyx as a model system to generate the first high throughput sequencing of the transcriptome of an angiosperm calyx. We applied massive parallel 454 pyrosequencing technology to a normalized cDNA extract and unveiled potential candidate genes for all steps of secondary metabolite pathways (phenylpropanoids and terpenoids). It also proved efficient in predicting the expression of large numbers of transcription factors and, with the use of bioinformatics tools, it predicted in the same sequencing run the presence of a novel class of gene transcription regulatory elements, miRNAs, without the need to generate a separate miRNA library. In our clary sage EST library, 18 conserved miRNAs were predicted. Among them, 15 were present in most studied plant species while the others were only shared with limited or discrete plant lineages. A separate data mining of the same clary sage EST library suggested the presence of 19 potential target genes to the 18 predicted conserved miRNAs. These coded for only 6 transcription factors or F-box proteins, 11 metabolism or abiotic stress response related proteins and 2 products with no known predicted function. All in all, this study provides novel genomic information on an angiosperm calyx and an experimental framework to predict in a single step metabolic pathway enzymes and regulator genes including miRNAs.
This article was published in Gene
and referenced in Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography