Hybrid de novo transcriptome assembly of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. Ex Klotsch) bracts

authored by
Vinicius Vilperte, Calin Rares Lucaciu, Heidi Halbwirth, Robert Boehm, Thomas Rattei, Thomas Debener

Background: Poinsettia is a popular and important ornamental crop, mostly during the Christmas season. Its bract coloration ranges from pink/red to creamy/white shades. Despite its ornamental value, there is a lack of knowledge about the genetics and molecular biology of poinsettia, especially on the mechanisms of color formation. We performed an RNA-Seq analysis in order to shed light on the transcriptome of poinsettia bracts. Moreover, we analyzed the transcriptome differences of red- and white-bracted poinsettia varieties during bract development and coloration. For the assembly of a bract transcriptome, two paired-end cDNA libraries from a red and white poinsettia pair were sequenced with the Illumina technology, and one library from a red-bracted variety was used for PacBio sequencing. Both short and long reads were assembled using a hybrid de novo strategy. Samples of red- and white-bracted poinsettias were sequenced and comparatively analyzed in three color developmental stages in order to understand the mechanisms of color formation and accumulation in the species. Results: The final transcriptome contains 288,524 contigs, with 33% showing confident protein annotation against the TAIR10 database. The BUSCO pipeline, which is based on near-universal orthologous gene groups, was applied to assess the transcriptome completeness. From a total of 1440 BUSCO groups searched, 77% were categorized as complete (41% as single-copy and 36% as duplicated), 10% as fragmented and 13% as missing BUSCOs. The gene expression comparison between red and white varieties of poinsettia showed a differential regulation of the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway only at particular stages of bract development. An initial impairment of the flavonoid pathway early in the color accumulation process for the white poinsettia variety was observed, but these differences were no longer present in the subsequent stages of bract development. Nonetheless, GSTF11 and UGT79B10 showed a lower expression in the last stage of bract development for the white variety and, therefore, are potential candidates for further studies on poinsettia coloration. Conclusions: In summary, this transcriptome analysis provides a valuable foundation for further studies on poinsettia, such as plant breeding and genetics, and highlights crucial information on the molecular mechanism of color formation.

Institute of Plant Genetics
External Organisation(s)
University of Vienna
TU Wien (TUW)
Klemm & Sohn GmbH co. KG
Publication date
Publication status
E-pub ahead of print
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Genetics, Biotechnology
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6247-3 (Access: Open)
https://doi.org/10.15488/9330 (Access: Open)