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Dissecting the sugarcane expressed sequence tag (SUCEST) database: unraveling flower-specific genes

Author(s): Figueiredo R.C. | Brito M.S. | Figueiredo L.H.M. | Quiapin A.C. | Vitorelli P.M. | Silva L.R. | Santos R.V. | Molfetta J.B. | Goldman G.H. | Goldman M.H.S.

Journal: Genetics and Molecular Biology
ISSN 1415-4757

Volume: 24;
Issue: 1-4;
Start page: 77;
Date: 2001;
Original page

There are almost 260,000 independent clones sequenced from the 5? end in the Sugarcane Expressed Sequence Tag (SUCEST) database, which have been obtained from 37 cDNA libraries prepared from different tissues. This large number of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) provides an opportunity, unprecedented in plants, to perform ?digital differential screening? on selected cDNA libraries. In general, the frequency of a particular EST correlates with transcript accumulation in the tissues from which the cDNA libraries were constructed, so it is possible to compare the whole transcriptome from different tissues using computer-assisted analysis of an EST database. In our research we analyzed sugarcane ESTs according to tissue expression and identified more than 1,000 putative flower-specific genes. The fact that using this technique we were able to identify sugarcane homologues of several genes previously described as pollen-specific justifies this method of assessing tissue specificity. In addition, ESTs similar to genes specific to reproductive organs were detected e.g. a sugarcane gene encoding a meiotic protein essential for assembly of the synaptonemal complex and normal synapsis. This approach also allowed the identification of many flower-specific anonymous sequences that are good candidates for being novel genes involved in plant reproduction. This paper describes the analysis of the gene expression levels of 24 EST clusters during flower development using a ?digital northern blot? constructed from direct EST counts made on the non-normalized sugarcane cDNA libraries.
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