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Soil salinity is a major abiotic stress that limits agriculture productivity worldwide. Salicornia europaea is well adapted to extreme saline environments with more than 1,000 mM NaCl in the soil, so it could serve as an important model species for studying halophilic mechanisms in euhalophytes. To obtain insights into the molecular basis of salt tolerance, we present here the first extensive transcriptome analysis of this species using the Illumina HiSeq™ 2000.Principal Findings
A total of 41 and 39 million clean reads from the salt-treated (Se200S) and salt-free (SeCKS) tissues of S. europaea shoots were obtained, and de novo assembly produced 97,865 and 101,751 unigenes, respectively. Upon further assembly with EST data from both Se200S and SeCKS, 109,712 high-quality non-redundant unigenes were generated with a mean unigene size of 639 bp. Additionally, a total of 3,979 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected between the Se200S and SeCKS libraries, with 348 unigenes solely expressed in Se200S and 460 unigenes solely expressed in SeCKS. Furthermore, we identified a large number of genes that are involved in ion homeostasis and osmotic adjustment, including cation transporters and proteins for the synthesis of low-molecular compounds. All unigenes were functionally annotated within the COG, GO and KEGG pathways, and 10 genes were validated by qRT-PCR.Conclusion
Our data contains the extensive sequencing and gene-annotation analysis of S. europaea. This genetic knowledge will be very useful for future studies on the molecular adaptation to abiotic stress in euhalophytes and will facilitate the genetic manipulation of other economically important crops.