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Next-generation sequencing-based mRNA and microRNA expression profiling analysis revealed pathways involved in the rapid growth of developing culms in Moso bamboo

Cai-yun He12, Kai Cui123, Jian-guo Zhang12*, Ai-guo Duan12 and Yan-fei Zeng12

Author Affiliations

1 State key laboratory of tree genetics and breeding, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China

2 Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation, State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China

3 Research Institute of Resources Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China

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BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-119

Published: 21 August 2013



As one of the fastest-growing lignocellulose-abundant plants on Earth, bamboos can reach their final height quickly due to the expansion of individual internodes already present in the buds; however, the molecular processes underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys heterocycla cv. Pubescens) internodes from four different developmental stages and three different internodes within the same stage were used in our study to investigate the molecular processes at the transcriptome and post-transcriptome level.


Our anatomical observations indicated the development of culms was dominated by cell division in the initial stages and by cell elongation in the middle and late stages. The four major endogenous hormones appeared to actively promote culm development. Using next-generation sequencing-based RNA-Seq, mRNA and microRNA expression profiling technology, we produced a transcriptome and post-transcriptome in possession of a large fraction of annotated Moso bamboo genes, and provided a molecular basis underlying the phenomenon of sequentially elongated internodes from the base to the top. Several key pathways such as environmental adaptation, signal transduction, translation, transport and many metabolisms were identified as involved in the rapid elongation of bamboo culms.


This is the first report on the temporal and spatial transcriptome and gene expression and microRNA profiling in a developing bamboo culms. In addition to gaining more insight into the unique growth characteristics of bamboo, we provide a good case study to analyze gene, microRNA expression and profiling of non-model plant species using high-throughput short-read sequencing. Also, we demonstrate that the integrated analysis of our multi-omics data, including transcriptome, post-transcriptome, proteome, yield more complete representations and additional biological insights, especially the complex dynamic processes occurring in Moso bamboo culms.