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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (1): 120-138    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.040
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Evaluation of the early defoliation trait and identification of resistance genes through a comprehensive transcriptome analysis in pears
SHAN Yan-fei1*, LI Meng-yan1*, WANG Run-ze1, LI Xiao-gang2, LIN Jing2, LI Jia-ming1, ZHAO Ke-jiao1, WU Jun1

1 College of Horticulture/State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, P.R.China

2 Institute of Horticulture, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Horticultural Crop Genetic Improvement, Nanjing 210095, P.R.China

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摘要  梨早期落叶现象通常发生在夏季,已逐渐成为威胁我国南方梨产业发展的重要问题。然而,不同梨品种资源的早期落叶性状缺乏系统的评价,且调控梨早期落叶性状的基因及其潜在的分子机制尚未明确。本研究通过对155份梨种质资源的田间调查,评价其对早期落叶的抗病或感病表现。结果表明,126份梨种质资源表现出对早期落叶的感病性,其余29份梨种质资源表现出对早期落叶的抗病性,其中19份抗性种质资源属于砂梨。为鉴定与梨早期落叶相关的抗性基因,分别采集了抗病品种‘华山’与感病品种‘翠冠’的健康叶片及感病叶片,进行RNA测序和基因表达差异比较。分析结果表明,与感病品种‘翠冠’相比,有444个基因仅在抗病品种‘华山’的健康叶片与感病叶片中差异表达;GO功能富集与KEGG代谢途径富集分析结果表明,梨早期落叶与胁迫响应密切相关。进一步的基因共表达网络分析发现,WRKY、ERF转录因子与梨早期落叶抗性高度相关。本研究不仅筛选出了梨早期落叶抗性资源,也鉴定了梨早期落叶抗性响应的重要候选基因,相关结果为促进梨抗病分子机制解析及抗性品种的分子育种奠定了基础。


Early defoliation, which usually occurs during summer in pear trees, is gradually becoming a major problem that poses a serious threat to the pear industry in southern China.  However, there is no system for evaluating the responses of different cultivars to early defoliation, and our knowledge of the potential molecular regulation of the genes underlying this phenomenon is still limited.  In this study, we conducted field investigations of 155 pear accessions to assess their resistance or susceptibility to early defoliation.  A total of 126 accessions were found to be susceptible to early defoliation, and only 29 accessions were resistant.  Among them, 19 resistant accessions belong to the sand pear species (Pyrus pyrifolia).  To identify the resistance genes related to early defoliation, the healthy and diseased samples of two sand pear accessions, namely, the resistant early defoliation accession ‘Whasan’ and the susceptible early defoliation accession ‘Cuiguan’, were used to perform RNA sequencing.  Compared with ‘Cuiguan’, a total of 444 genes were uniquely differentially expressed in ‘Whasan’.  Combined with GO and KEGG enrichment analyses, we found that early defoliation was closely related to the stress response.  Furthermore, a weighted gene co-expression network analysis revealed a high correlation of WRKY and ethylene responsive factor (ERF) transcription factors with early defoliation resistance.  This study provides useful resistant germplasm resources and new insights into potentially essential genes that respond to early defoliation in pears, which may facilitate a better understanding of the resistance mechanism and molecular breeding of resistant pear cultivars

Keywords:  pear       early defoliation       resistance and susceptibility evaluation       RNA-seq       WRKY       ERF  
Received: 24 March 2021   Accepted: 21 April 2022

This work was supported by the earmarked fund for Jiangsu Agricultural Industry Technology System, China (JATS [2021]453), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2021YFD1200200), and the earmarked fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-28).  We thank the State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Centre of Pear Engineering Technology Research, and the Bioinformatics Center of Nanjing Agricultural University, China for supporting this project.

About author:  SHAN Yan-fei, E-mail:; LI Meng-yan, E-mail:; Correspondence WU Jun, E-mail: * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

SHAN Yan-fei, LI Meng-yan, WANG Run-ze, LI Xiao-gang, LIN Jing, LI Jia-ming, ZHAO Ke-jiao, WU Jun. 2023. Evaluation of the early defoliation trait and identification of resistance genes through a comprehensive transcriptome analysis in pears. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(1): 120-138.

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