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Open Access Research article

Characterization of hemizygous deletions in Citrus using array-Comparative Genomic Hybridization and microsynteny comparisons with the poplar genome

Gabino Ríos, Miguel A Naranjo, Domingo J Iglesias, Omar Ruiz-Rivero, Marion Geraud, Antonio Usach and Manuel Talón*

Author Affiliations

Centro de Genómica, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias, Carretera Moncada-Náquera km 4.5, 46113 Moncada (Valencia), Spain

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:381  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-381

Published: 9 August 2008

Abstract

Background

Many fruit-tree species, including relevant Citrus spp varieties exhibit a reproductive biology that impairs breeding and strongly constrains genetic improvements. In citrus, juvenility increases the generation time while sexual sterility, inbreeding depression and self-incompatibility prevent the production of homozygous cultivars. Genomic technology may provide citrus researchers with a new set of tools to address these various restrictions. In this work, we report a valuable genomics-based protocol for the structural analysis of deletion mutations on an heterozygous background.

Results

Two independent fast neutron mutants of self-incompatible clementine (Citrus clementina Hort. Ex Tan. cv. Clemenules) were the subject of the study. Both mutants, named 39B3 and 39E7, were expected to carry DNA deletions in hemizygous dosage. Array-based Comparative Genomic Hybridization (array-CGH) using a Citrus cDNA microarray allowed the identification of underrepresented genes in these two mutants. Subsequent comparison of citrus deleted genes with annotated plant genomes, especially poplar, made possible to predict the presence of a large deletion in 39B3 of about 700 kb and at least two deletions of approximately 100 and 500 kb in 39E7. The deletion in 39B3 was further characterized by PCR on available Citrus BACs, which helped us to build a partial physical map of the deletion. Among the deleted genes, ClpC-like gene coding for a putative subunit of a multifunctional chloroplastic protease involved in the regulation of chlorophyll b synthesis was directly related to the mutated phenotype since the mutant showed a reduced chlorophyll a/b ratio in green tissues.

Conclusion

In this work, we report the use of array-CGH for the successful identification of genes included in a hemizygous deletion induced by fast neutron irradiation on Citrus clementina. The study of gene content and order into the 39B3 deletion also led to the unexpected conclusion that microsynteny and local gene colinearity in this species were higher with Populus trichocarpa than with the phylogenetically closer Arabidopsis thaliana. This work corroborates the potential of Citrus genomic resources to assist mutagenesis-based approaches for functional genetics, structural studies and comparative genomics, and hence to facilitate citrus variety improvement.