Transcriptomic analysis between self- and cross-pollinated pistils of tea plants (Camellia sinensis)
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Abstract Background Self-incompatibility (SI) is a major barrier that obstructs the breeding process in most horticultural plants including tea plants (Camellia sinensis). The aim of this study was to elucidate the molecular mechanism of SI in tea plants through a high throughput transcriptome analysis. Results In this study, the transcriptomes of self- and cross-pollinated pistils of two tea cultivars ‘Fudingdabai’ and ‘Yulv’ were compared to elucidate the SI mechanism of tea plants. In addition, the ion components and pollen tube growth in self- and cross-pollinated pistils were investigated. Our results revealed that both cultivars had similar pollen activities and cross-pollination could promote the pollen tube growth. In tea pistils, the highest ion content was potassium (K+), followed by calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+) and phosphorus (P5+). Ca2+ content increased after self-pollination but decreased after cross-pollination, while K+ showed reverse trend with Ca2+. A total of 990 and 3 common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in un-pollinated vs. pollinated pistils and self- vs. cross-pollinated groups after 48 h, respectively. Function annotation indicated that three genes encoding UDP-glycosyltransferase 74B1 (UGT74B1), Mitochondrial calcium uniporter protein 2 (MCU2) and G-type lectin S-receptor-like serine/threonine-protein kinase (G-type RLK) might play important roles during SI process in tea plants. Conclusion Ca2+ and K+ are important signal for SI in tea plants, and three genes including UGT74B1, MCU2 and G-type RLK play essential roles during SI signal transduction.