Selection and Validation of Reference Genes for Accurate RT-qPCR Data Normalization in Coffea spp. under a Climate Changes Context of Interacting Elevated [CO2] and Temperature
Abiotic stresses are among the most important factors that affect food production. One important step to face these environmental challenges is the transcriptional modulation. Quantitative real-time PCR is a rapid, sensitive, and reliable method for the detection of mRNAs and it has become a powerful tool to mitigate plant stress tolerance; however, suitable reference genes are required for data normalization. Reference genes for coffee plants during nitrogen starvation, salinity and heat stress have not yet been reported. We evaluated the expression stability of ten candidate reference genes using geNorm PLUS, NormFinder, and BestKeeper softwares, in plants submitted to nitrogen starvation, salt and heat stress. EF1, EF1α, GAPDH, MDH, and UBQ10 were ranked as the most stable genes in all stresses and software analyses, while RPL39 and RPII were classified as the less reliable references. For reference gene validation, the transcriptional pattern of a Coffea non-symbiotic hemoglobin (CaHb1) was analyzed using the two new recommended and the most unstable gene references for normalization. The most unstable gene may lead to incorrect interpretation of CaHb1 transcriptional analysis. Here, we recommend two new reference genes in Coffea for use in data normalization in abiotic stresses: MDH and EF1.