PLoS One 2019 18;14(4):e0215729. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Departamento de Botânica, Laboratório de Fisiologia Vegetal, Recife, PE, Brazil.
Calotropis procera is a perennial Asian shrub with significant adaptation to adverse climate conditions and poor soils. Given its increased salt and drought stress tolerance, C. procera stands out as a powerful candidate to provide alternative genetic resources for biotechnological approaches. The qPCR (real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction), widely recognized among the most accurate methods for quantifying gene expression, demands suitable reference genes (RGs) to avoid over- or underestimations of the relative expression and incorrect interpretation. This study aimed at evaluating the stability of ten RGs for normalization of gene expression of root and leaf of C. procera under different salt stress conditions and different collection times. The selected RGs were used on expression analysis of three target genes. Three independent experiments were carried out in greenhouse with young plants: i) Leaf100 = leaf samples collected 30 min, 2 h, 8 h and 45 days after NaCl-stress (100 mM NaCl); ii) Root50 and iii) Root200 = root samples collected 30 min, 2 h, 8 h and 1day after NaCl-stress (50 and 200 mM NaCl, respectively). Stability rank among the three algorithms used showed high agreement for the four most stable RGs. The four most stable RGs showed high congruence among all combination of collection time, for each software studied, with minor disagreements. CYP23 was the best RG (rank of top four) for all experimental conditions (Leaf100, Root50, and Root200). Using appropriated RGs, we validated the relative expression level of three differentially expressed target genes (NAC78, CNBL4, and ND1) in Leaf100 and Root200 samples. This study provides the first selection of stable reference genes for C. procera under salinity. Our results emphasize the need for caution when evaluating the stability RGs under different amplitude of variable factors.