Validation of reference genes for accurate normalization by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in sugarcane drought stress studies using two cultivars
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of putative reference genes in sugarcane under drought stress. The varieties RB72454 and RB72910 were cultivated and the treatments control and drought stress applied to 135-day-old plants grown under field conditions. The stress level of the plants was measured by rate of photosynthesis, transpiration, and stomatal conductance. For each biological replicate, expression analyses were conducted using quantitative polymerase chain reaction for the genes α-tubulin, β-tubulin, β-actin, cyclophilin, eukaryotic elongation factor 1, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), histone H3 and ubiquitin. Stability was evaluated using the geNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper software packages. Among the candidate genes, GAPDH was identified as the most stable in all software, indicating its suitability for gene expression studies in sugarcane undergoing drought stress; the gene β-actin was the second most stable. These findings suggest using GAPDH and β-actin for normalization in relative gene expression in sugarcane.