Genes 2016 4
De Novo Transcriptome Sequencing of Desert Herbaceous Achnatherum splendens (Achnatherum) Seedlings and Identification of Salt Tolerance Genes.
Achnatherum splendens is an important forage herb in Northwestern China. It has a high tolerance to salinity and is, thus, considered one of the most important constructive plants in saline and alkaline areas of land in Northwest China. However, the mechanisms of salt stress tolerance in A. splendens remain unknown. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies can be used for global gene expression profiling. In this study, we examined sequence and transcript abundance data for the root/leaf transcriptome of A. splendens obtained using an Illumina HiSeq 2500. Over 35 million clean reads were obtained from the leaf and root libraries. All of the RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) reads were assembled de novo into a total of 126,235 unigenes and 36,511 coding DNA sequences (CDS). We further identified 1663 differentially-expressed genes (DEGs) between the salt stress treatment and control. Functional annotation of the DEGs by gene ontology (GO), using Arabidopsis and rice as references, revealed enrichment of salt stress-related GO categories, including "oxidation reduction", "transcription factor activity", and "ion channel transporter". Thus, this global transcriptome analysis of A. splendens has provided an important genetic resource for the study of salt tolerance in this halophyte. The identified sequences and their putative functional data will facilitate future investigations of the tolerance of Achnatherum species to various types of abiotic stress.