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Open Access Research article

Homoeolog-specific transcriptional bias in allopolyploid wheat

Alina R Akhunova1, Rustam T Matniyazov2, Hanquan Liang1 and Eduard D Akhunov2*

Author Affiliations

1 Integrated Genomics Facility, Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

2 Department of Plant Pathology, Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:505  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-505

Published: 17 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Interaction between parental genomes is accompanied by global changes in gene expression which, eventually, contributes to growth vigor and the broader phenotypic diversity of allopolyploid species. In order to gain a better understanding of the effects of allopolyploidization on the regulation of diverged gene networks, we performed a genome-wide analysis of homoeolog-specific gene expression in re-synthesized allohexaploid wheat created by the hybridization of a tetraploid derivative of hexaploid wheat with the diploid ancestor of the wheat D genome Ae. tauschii.

Results

Affymetrix wheat genome arrays were used for both the discovery of divergent homoeolog-specific mutations and analysis of homoeolog-specific gene expression in re-synthesized allohexaploid wheat. More than 34,000 detectable parent-specific features (PSF) distributed across the wheat genome were used to assess AB genome (could not differentiate A and B genome contributions) and D genome parental expression in the allopolyploid transcriptome. In re-synthesized polyploid 81% of PSFs detected mid-parent levels of gene expression, and only 19% of PSFs showed the evidence of non-additive expression. Non-additive expression in both AB and D genomes was strongly biased toward up-regulation of parental type of gene expression with only 6% and 11% of genes, respectively, being down-regulated. Of all the non-additive gene expression, 84% can be explained by differences in the parental genotypes used to make the allopolyploid. Homoeolog-specific co-regulation of several functional gene categories was found, particularly genes involved in photosynthesis and protein biosynthesis in wheat.

Conclusions

Here, we have demonstrated that the establishment of interactions between the diverged regulatory networks in allopolyploids is accompanied by massive homoeolog-specific up- and down-regulation of gene expression. This study provides insights into interactions between homoeologous genomes and their role in growth vigor, development, and fertility of allopolyploid species.