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Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Different Mechanisms of Adaptation to Environment among Three Species of Saussurea DC.

Weimin Zhao1, Fengzhen Li1, Guomin Shi3, Jialei Guo1, Guifang He1, Tao He2,3,*
1 School of Ecol-Environmental Engineering, Qinghai University, Xining, 810016, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University, Xining, 810016, China
3 Key Laboratory of Landscape Plants of Qinghai Province, Qinghai University, Xining, 810016, China
* Corresponding Author: Tao He. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Omics in Challenging Environment)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2022, 91(7), 1517-1528.

Received 03 October 2021; Accepted 16 December 2021; Issue published 14 March 2022


Saussurea medusa, Saussurea hypsipeta and Saussurea obvallata are typical alpine snowline plants growing in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. They are characterized by a specialized morphology. S. medusa and S. hypsipeta have very dense trichomes on whole plant, whereas S. obvallata has transparent bracts covered inflorescences. The different forms reflect their adaptation to cold environments. To investigate the different mechanisms of adaptation of these species to cold temperatures, transcriptome sequencing was performed in three species of Saussurea DC. A total of 116394 137237 and 113879 Unigenes were identified from S. medusa, S. hypsipeta and S. obvallata, respectively. Of these, 55909 (48.03%), 65519 (47.74%) and 51889 (45.56%) Unigenes were matched in public databases. GO analysis identified that most of annotated Unigenes in the three species of plants were related to cellular, metabolic, and single−organism processes, and binding and catalytic activities. The differential expression of 37 genes related to environmental adaptation were discovered by pairwise comparisons. Of these, two candidate genes (Interaptin-like and CSLB3) related to trichome development were identified only in S. medusa and S. hypsipeta, which was consistent with their distinct morphology. Our data can provide a valuable resource for the further studies on the adaptive mechanisms of molecular and functional ecology in Saussurea DC.


Saussurea DC.; transcriptome; adaptive mechanisms

Cite This Article

Zhao, W., Li, F., Shi, G., Guo, J., He, G. et al. (2022). Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Different Mechanisms of Adaptation to Environment among Three Species of Saussurea DC.. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 91(7), 1517–1528.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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