Research article

Transcriptome profiling in Camellia japonica var. decumbens for the discovery of genes involved in chilling tolerance under cold stress

Yawen Wu, Markus Müller, Tian Bai, Shunyang Yao, Oliver Gailing, Zhen Liu

Yawen Wu
College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, 450002, Zhengzhou, China
Markus Müller
University of Göttingen, Forest Genetics and Forest Tree Breeding, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Tian Bai
College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, 450002, Zhengzhou, China
Shunyang Yao
College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, 450002, Zhengzhou, China
Oliver Gailing
University of Göttingen, Forest Genetics and Forest Tree Breeding, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Zhen Liu
College of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, 450002, Zhengzhou, China. Email: liuzh20@163.com

Online First: June 28, 2019
Wu, Y., Müller, M., Bai, T., Yao, S., Gailing, O., Liu, Z. 2019. Transcriptome profiling in Camellia japonica var. decumbens for the discovery of genes involved in chilling tolerance under cold stress. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2018.1311


Camellia japonica var. decumbens is a naturally occurring highly cold resistant variety of Camellia japonica which is suitable for snowy and cold regions. However, the underlying cold-adaptive mechanisms associated with gene regulation have been poorly investigated. We analyzed the transcriptomic changes caused by cold stress in a cold-tolerant accession. Samples were collected at the end of each temperature treatment (T1, T3, T5, T7 and T9 represent the temperatures 25°C, 0°C, -4°C, -8°C and -12°C, respectively). Sample T1 at 25°C was used as control. Based on transcriptome analysis, 2828, 2384, 3099 and 3075 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were up-regulated, and 3184, 2592, 2373 and 2615 DEGs were down-regulated by analyzing T3/T1, T5/T1, T7/T1 and T9/T1, respectively. A gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed an enrichment of GO terms such as response to stimulus, metabolic process, catalytic activity or binding. Out of the larger number of DEGs, 67 functional and regulatory DEGs stood out, since they were functionally characterized in other models. These genes are cold-responsive transcription factors (26) or involved in cold sensor or signal transduction (17) and in the stabilization of the plasma membrane and osmosensing response (24). These results suggest rapid and multiple molecular mechanisms of perception, transduction and responses to cold stress in cold acclimation of Camellia japonica var. decumbens. They could also serve as a valuable resource for relevant research on cold-tolerance and help to explore cold-related genes to foster the understanding of low-temperature tolerance and plant-environment interactions.


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  • Yawen Wu
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  • Shunyang Yao
  • Oliver Gailing
  • Zhen Liu
  • Yawen Wu
  • Markus Müller
  • Tian Bai
  • Shunyang Yao
  • Oliver Gailing
  • Zhen Liu