Research Article

Characterization and expression analysis of somatic embryogenesis receptor-like kinase genes from Phalaenopsis

Published: December 18, 2014
Genet.Mol.Res. 13 (4) : 10690-10703 DOI: 10.4238/2014.December.18.11

Abstract

Somatic embryogenesis receptor-like kinase (SERK) genes have been found to be involved in the somatic embryogenesis of several plant species. We identified and characterized 5 PhSERK genes in the Phalaenopsis orchid. The amino acid sequences of PhSERKs and other SERK proteins are highly conserved, with the highest homology observed in the leucine-rich repeat-receptor-like kinase domain. All 5 PhSERKs were expressed in all Phalaenopsis organs examined (root, leaf, shoot apical meristem, and flower), with the strongest expression, particularly for PhSERK1 and 3, in the shoot apical meristem of mature plants. Expression of all PhSERKs was downregulated during early floral bud development and was upregulated gradually until the semi-open flower stage was reached. All 5 PhSERKs were expressed during both seed germination and protocorm-like-body (PLB) development. In germinated seeds, quantitative real-time PCR revealed upregulation of all PhSERKs except PhSERK4 at 1 week and downregulation after 4 weeks. The 5 PhSERKs were differentially expressed in the early stage of PLB development and maintained substantial levels during PLB formation, with PhSERK1 and 5 upregulated 1 week after culture and PhSERK2, 3, and 4 downregulated over this period. Because physical wounding of PLB stimulates secondary PLB formation, the PhSERK5 expression peak at week 3 coincided with visible and fully developed secondary PLBs. PhSERK5 may be important in PLB induction and subsequent development. Our PhSERK expression analysis revealed that these genes have a broad role during orchid plant development.

Somatic embryogenesis receptor-like kinase (SERK) genes have been found to be involved in the somatic embryogenesis of several plant species. We identified and characterized 5 PhSERK genes in the Phalaenopsis orchid. The amino acid sequences of PhSERKs and other SERK proteins are highly conserved, with the highest homology observed in the leucine-rich repeat-receptor-like kinase domain. All 5 PhSERKs were expressed in all Phalaenopsis organs examined (root, leaf, shoot apical meristem, and flower), with the strongest expression, particularly for PhSERK1 and 3, in the shoot apical meristem of mature plants. Expression of all PhSERKs was downregulated during early floral bud development and was upregulated gradually until the semi-open flower stage was reached. All 5 PhSERKs were expressed during both seed germination and protocorm-like-body (PLB) development. In germinated seeds, quantitative real-time PCR revealed upregulation of all PhSERKs except PhSERK4 at 1 week and downregulation after 4 weeks. The 5 PhSERKs were differentially expressed in the early stage of PLB development and maintained substantial levels during PLB formation, with PhSERK1 and 5 upregulated 1 week after culture and PhSERK2, 3, and 4 downregulated over this period. Because physical wounding of PLB stimulates secondary PLB formation, the PhSERK5 expression peak at week 3 coincided with visible and fully developed secondary PLBs. PhSERK5 may be important in PLB induction and subsequent development. Our PhSERK expression analysis revealed that these genes have a broad role during orchid plant development.

About the Authors