Alternative splicing (AS) can increase transcriptome diversity, protein diversity and protein yield, and is an important mechanism to regulate plant responses to stress. Oilseed rape (Brassica napus
L.), one of the main oil crops in China, shows higher sensitivity to boron (B) deficiency than other species. Here, we demonstrated AS changes that largely increased the diversity of the mRNA expressed in response to B deficiency in B. napus
. Each gene had two or more transcripts on average. A total of 33.3% genes in both Qingyou10 (QY10, B-efficient cultivar) and Westar10 (W10, B-inefficient cultivar) showed AS in both B conditions. The types of AS events were mainly intron retention, 3′ alternative splice site, 5′ alternative splice site and exon skipping. The tolerance ability of QY10 was higher than that of W10, possibly because there were far more differential alternative splicing (DAS) genes identified in QY10 at low B conditions than in W10. The number of genes with both DAS and differentially expressed (DE) was far lower than that of the genes that were either with DAS or DE in QY10 and W10, suggesting that the DAS and DE genes were independent. Four Serine/Arginine-rich (SR) splicing factors, BnaC06g14780D
, underwent differentially alternative splicing in both cultivars. There existed gene–gene interactions between BnaC06g14780D
and the genes associated with the function of B in oilseed rape at low B supply. This suggests that oilseed rape could regulate the alterative pre-mRNA splicing of SR protein related genes to increase the plant tolerance to B deficiency.
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