Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of faba bean in response to vernalization

Bei Gao, Xiao Chun Bian, Feng Yang, Mo Xian Chen, Debatosh Das, Xiu Ru Zhu, Yong Jiang, Jianhua ZHANG, Yun Ying Cao*, Chun Fang Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Main conclusion: This study unravels the transcriptional response of a highly productive faba bean cultivar under vernalization treatment. Abstract: Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is a member of the Leguminosae family and an important food crop worldwide providing valuable nutrients for humans. However, genome-wide studies and comprehensive sequencing resources of faba bean remain limited. Vernalization is crucial for enhanced yields in a number of winter-sown crops. However, the effects of vernalization on faba bean remain unknown. In this study, we generated a high-quality transcriptome assembly and functional annotation source for vernalized faba bean (Vicia faba L.) cv. Tongxian-2, a domesticated cultivar from southern China. A total of 369.9 million clean Illumina paired-end RNA-Seq reads were generated, and the transcriptome was assembled into 68,683 unigene sequences, with an average length of 1018 bp and an N50 of 1652 bp. Comprehensive functional annotation provided putative functional descriptions for more than 70% of the faba bean transcripts. We annotated a total of 1560 faba bean transcripts encoding transcription factors (TFs) belonging to 55 distinct TF families. The bHLH (168 transcripts), ERF (123 transcripts) and WRKY (105 transcripts) contained the largest number of TFs in response to vernalization. Genome-wide transcript changes comparing vernalized and unvernalized seedlings were investigated using bioinformatics approaches, which revealed a strong repression of photosynthesis and carbon metabolism, while genes participating in ‘response to stress’ were significantly induced. We also specifically identified vernalization-induced twenty-two ‘pollen–pistil interaction’ genes. A detailed functional annotation and expression profile analyses unveiled a number of protein kinases, which were specifically induced in vernalized seedlings. We also identified a total of 6852 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) in 6552 transcripts, representing a valuable genomic molecular marker resource for faba bean. In summary, this study provides new insights into the vernalization process in this economically valuable crop. The transcriptome data obtained provides us with a valuable candidate gene resource for future functional and molecular breeding studies. These data will contribute to the genome annotation for ensuing genome projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Simple sequence repeats
  • Transcription factor
  • Transcriptome
  • Vernalization
  • Vicia faba


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