BACKGROUND : Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a class of RNA molecules that are implicated in regulation
of gene expression in both mammals and plants. While much progress has been made in determining the biological
functions of lncRNAs in mammals, the functional roles of lncRNAs in plants are still poorly understood. Specifically, the
roles of long intergenic nocoding RNAs (lincRNAs) in plant defence responses are yet to be fully explored.
RESULTS : In this study, we used strand-specific RNA sequencing to identify 1113 lincRNAs in potato (Solanum
tuberosum) from stem tissues. The lincRNAs are expressed from all 12 potato chromosomes and generally smaller
in size compared to protein-coding genes. Like in other plants, most potato lincRNAs possess single exons. A
time-course RNA-seq analysis between a tolerant and a susceptible potato cultivar showed that 559 lincRNAs are
responsive to Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense challenge compared to mock-inoculated controls. Moreover,
coexpression analysis revealed that 17 of these lincRNAs are highly associated with 12 potato defence-related genes.
CONCLUSIONS : Together, these results suggest that lincRNAs have potential functional roles in potato defence responses.
Furthermore, this work provides the first library of potato lincRNAs and a set of novel lincRNAs implicated in potato
defences against P. carotovorum subsp. brasiliense, a member of the soft rot Enterobacteriaceae phytopathogens.