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Comparative transcript profiling of gene expression between seedless Ponkan mandarin and its seedy wild type during floral organ development by suppression subtractive hybridization and cDNA microarray

Wen-Ming Qiu, An-Dan Zhu, Yao Wang, Li-Jun Chai, Xiao-Xia Ge, Xiu-Xin Deng and Wen-Wu Guo*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology (Ministry of Education); National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, 430070, China

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:397  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-397

Published: 16 August 2012



Seedlessness is an important agronomic trait for citrus, and male sterility (MS) is one main cause of seedless citrus fruit. However, the molecular mechanism of citrus seedlessness remained not well explored.


An integrative strategy combining suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) library with cDNA microarray was employed to study the underlying mechanism of seedlessness of a Ponkan mandarin seedless mutant (Citrus reticulata Blanco). Screening with custom microarray, a total of 279 differentially expressed clones were identified, and 133 unigenes (43 contigs and 90 singletons) were obtained after sequencing. Gene Ontology (GO) distribution based on biological process suggested that the majority of differential genes are involved in metabolic process and respond to stimulus and regulation of biology process; based on molecular function they function as DNA/RNA binding or have catalytic activity and oxidoreductase activity. A gene encoding male sterility-like protein was highly up-regulated in the seedless mutant compared with the wild type, while several transcription factors (TFs) such as AP2/EREBP, MYB, WRKY, NAC and C2C2-GATA zinc-finger domain TFs were down-regulated.


Our research highlighted some candidate pathways that participated in the citrus male gametophyte development and could be beneficial for seedless citrus breeding in the future.

Citrus; cDNA microarray; Differential transcript; Male sterility-like protein; Seedlessness