[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression traits can vary quantitatively between individuals and have a complex inheritance. Identification of the genetics underlying transcript variation can help in the understanding of phenotypic variation due to genetic factors regulating transcript abundance and shed light into divergence patterns. So far, only a limited number of studies have addressed this subject in Arabidopsis, with contrasting results due to dissimilar statistical power. Here, we present the transcriptome architecture in leaf tissue of two RIL sets obtained from a connected-cross design involving 3 commonly used accessions. We also present the transcriptome architecture observed in developing seeds of a third independent cross.
The utilisation of the novel R/eqtl package (which goal is to automatize and extend functions from the R/qtl package) allowed us to map 4,290 and 6,534 eQTLs in the Cvi-0 × Col-0 and Bur-0 × Col-0 recombinant populations respectively. In agreement with previous studies, we observed a larger phenotypic variance explained by eQTLs in linkage with the controlled gene (potentially cis-acting), compared to distant loci (acting necessarily indirectly or in trans). Distant eQTLs hotspots were essentially not conserved between crosses, but instead, cross-specific. Accounting for confounding factors using a probabilistic approach (VBQTL) increased the mapping resolution and the number of significant associations. Moreover, using local eQTLs obtained from this approach, we detected evidence for a directional allelic effect in genes with related function, where significantly more eQTLs than expected by chance were up-regulated from one of the accessions. Primary experimental data, analysis parameters, eQTL results and visualisation of LOD score curves presented here are stored and accessible through the QTLstore service database http://qtlstore.versailles.inra.fr/.
Our results demonstrate the extensive diversity and moderately conserved eQTL landscape between crosses and validate the utilisation of expression traits to explore for candidates behind phenotypic variation among accessions. Furthermore, this stresses the need for a wider spectrum of diversity to fully understand expression trait variation within a species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitrogen (N) is an essential macronutrient for plants. N levels in soil vary widely, and plants have developed strategies to cope with N deficiency. However, the regulation of these adaptive responses and the coordinating signals that underlie them are still poorly understood. The aim of this study was to characterize N starvation in adult Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants in a spatiotemporal manner by an integrative, multilevel global approach analyzing growth, metabolites, enzyme activities, and transcript levels. We determined that the remobilization of N and carbon compounds to the growing roots occurred long before the internal N stores became depleted. A global metabolite analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed organ-specific differences in the metabolic adaptation to complete N starvation, for example, for several tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, but also for carbohydrates, secondary products, and phosphate. The activities of central N metabolism enzymes and the capacity for nitrate uptake adapted to N starvation by favoring N remobilization and by increasing the high-affinity nitrate uptake capacity after long-term starvation. Changes in the transcriptome confirmed earlier studies and added a new dimension by revealing specific spatiotemporal patterns and several unknown N starvation-regulated genes, including new predicted small RNA genes. No global correlation between metabolites, enzyme activities, and transcripts was evident. However, this multilevel spatiotemporal global study revealed numerous new patterns of adaptation mechanisms to N starvation. In the context of a sustainable agriculture, this work will give new insight for the production of crops with increased N use efficiency.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhodococcus fascians is a Gram-positive phytopathogen that induces shooty hyperplasia on its hosts through the secretion of cytokinins. Global transcriptomics using microarrays combined with profiling of primary metabolites on infected Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants revealed that this actinomycete modulated pathways to convert its host into a niche. The transcript data demonstrated that R. fascians leaves a very characteristic mark on Arabidopsis with a pronounced cytokinin response illustrated by the activation of cytokinin perception, signal transduction, and homeostasis. The microarray data further suggested active suppression of an oxidative burst during the R. fascians pathology, and comparison with publicly available transcript data sets implied a central role for auxin in the prevention of plant defense activation. Gene Ontology categorization of the differentially expressed genes hinted at a significant impact of infection on the primary metabolism of the host, which was confirmed by subsequent metabolite profiling. The much higher levels of sugars and amino acids in infected plants are presumably accessed by the bacteria as carbon and nitrogen sources to support epiphytic and endophytic colonization. Hexoses, accumulating from a significantly increased invertase activity, possibly inhibited the expression of photosynthesis genes and photosynthetic activity in infected leaves. Altogether, these changes are indicative of sink development in symptomatic tissues. The metabolomics data furthermore point to the possible occurrence of secondary signaling during the interaction, which might contribute to symptom development. These data are placed in the context of regulation of bacterial virulence gene expression, suppression of defense, infection phenotype, and niche establishment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most microarray studies are made using labelling with one or two dyes which allows the hybridization of one or two samples on the same slide. In such experiments, the most frequently used dyes are Cy3 and Cy5. Recent improvements in the technology (dye-labelling, scanner and, image analysis) allow hybridization up to four samples simultaneously. The two additional dyes are Alexa488 and Alexa494. The triple-target or four-target technology is very promising, since it allows more flexibility in the design of experiments, an increase in the statistical power when comparing gene expressions induced by different conditions and a scaled down number of slides. However, there have been few methods proposed for statistical analysis of such data. Moreover the lowess correction of the global dye effect is available for only two-color experiments, and even if its application can be derived, it does not allow simultaneous correction of the raw data.
We propose a two-step normalization procedure for triple-target experiments. First the dye bleeding is evaluated and corrected if necessary. Then the signal in each channel is normalized using a generalized lowess procedure to correct a global dye bias. The normalization procedure is validated using triple-self experiments and by comparing the results of triple-target and two-color experiments. Although the focus is on triple-target microarrays, the proposed method can be used to normalize p differently labelled targets co-hybridized on a same array, for any value of p greater than 2.
The proposed normalization procedure is effective: the technical biases are reduced, the number of false positives is under control in the analysis of differentially expressed genes, and the triple-target experiments are more powerful than the corresponding two-color experiments. There is room for improving the microarray experiments by simultaneously hybridizing more than two samples.