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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Haplotype analysis of sucrose synthase gene family in three Saccharum species

Jisen Zhang12, Jie Arro2, Youqiang Chen1 and Ray Ming2*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Life Sciences, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350108, China

2 Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:314  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-314

Published: 10 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Sugarcane is an economically important crop contributing about 80% and 40% to the world sugar and ethanol production, respectively. The complicated genetics consequential to its complex polyploid genome, however, have impeded efforts to improve sugar yield and related important agronomic traits. Modern sugarcane cultivars are complex hybrids derived mainly from crosses among its progenitor species, S. officinarum and S. spontanuem, and to a lesser degree, S. robustom. Atypical of higher plants, sugarcane stores its photoassimilates as sucrose rather than as starch in its parenchymous stalk cells. In the sugar biosynthesis pathway, sucrose synthase (SuSy, UDP-glucose: D-fructose 2-a-D-glucosyltransferase, EC 2.4.1.13) is a key enzyme in the regulation of sucrose accumulation and partitioning by catalyzing the reversible conversion of sucrose and UDP into UDP-glucose and fructose. However, little is known about the sugarcane SuSy gene family members and hence no definitive studies have been reported regarding allelic diversity of SuSy gene families in Saccharum species.

Results

We identified and characterized a total of five sucrose synthase genes in the three sugarcane progenitor species through gene annotation and PCR haplotype analysis by analyzing 70 to 119 PCR fragments amplified from intron-containing target regions. We detected all but one (i.e. ScSuSy5) of ScSuSy transcripts in five tissue types of three Saccharum species. The average SNP frequency was one SNP per 108 bp, 81 bp, and 72 bp in S. officinarum, S. robustom, and S. spontanuem respectively. The average shared SNP is 15 between S. officinarum and S. robustom, 7 between S. officinarum and S. spontanuem , and 11 between S. robustom and S. spontanuem. We identified 27, 35, and 32 haplotypes from the five ScSuSy genes in S. officinarum, S. robustom, and S. spontanuem respectively. Also, 12, 11, and 9 protein sequences were translated from the haplotypes in S. officinarum, S. robustom, S. spontanuem, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed three separate clusters composed of SbSuSy1 and SbSuSy2, SbSuSy3 and SbSuSy5, and SbSuSy4.

Conclusions

The five members of the SuSy gene family evolved before the divergence of the genera in the tribe Andropogoneae at least 12 MYA. Each ScSuSy gene showed at least one non-synonymous substitution in SNP haplotypes. The SNP frequency is the lowest in S. officinarum, intermediate in S. robustum, and the highest in S. spontaneum, which may reflect the timing of the two rounds of whole genome duplication in these octoploids. The higher rate of shared SNP frequency between S. officinarum and S. robustum than between S. officinarum and in S. spontaneum confirmed that the speciation event separating S. officinarum and S. robustum occurred after their common ancestor diverged from S. spontaneum. The SNP and haplotype frequencies in three Saccharum species provide fundamental information for designing strategies to sequence these autopolyploid genomes.

Keywords:
Sucrose synthase; Haplotype; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Saccharum officinarum; Saccharum spontaneum; Saccharum robustum