Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) is a standard method to measure gene expression in function exploring. Accurate and reproducible data of qRT-PCR requires appropriate reference genes, which are stably expressed under different experimental conditions. However, no housekeeping genes were validated as internal controls for qRT-PCR in Sinonovacula constricta. In this study, we classified the transcriptome data of two tissues for Vibrio infection and Cd2+ stress into ten clusters based on the gene expression patterns. Among them, cluster 5 had the most stable gene expression patterns regardless of tissues and treatments as the database for candidate reference genes. A total of 55 orthologs of classical housekeeping genes in the clam transcriptome were annotated. Combined the expression profiles and housekeeping genes in S. constricta, we chose eight candidate reference genes and validated their expression in Vibrio-infected samples and different tissues by qRT-PCR. Their expression stability was analyzed by three different algorithms geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper. Although the rank of the eight candidate reference genes is different in different treatments using different software, RS9 could be the best reference genes for normalization of qRT-PCR expression data in S. constricta under various treatments considering the above analysis. Meanwhile, the ranking of genes based on the CV values of transcriptomic data was similar to the validation results. This study provides for the first time a list of suitable reference genes for S. constricta and a valuable resource for further studies of clam immune defense systems.
Genes & Genomics, pp 1–11, First Online: 03 February 2018