• GhHmgB3;
  • somatic embryogenesis;
  • RNAi;
  • Solexa sequencing;
  • β-catenin-related mechanisms


The proteins of high-mobility group box (HmgB) family were involved in the regulation of transcription and other DNA-dependent processes. To investigate the function of HmgB proteins during cotton somatic embryogenesis (SE), four Gossypium hirsutum HmgB genes were characterized. The gene GhHmgB3 preferentially expressed in embryonic tissues and was studied in detail. RNA interference and over-expression was used to regulate the expression of GhHmgB3 during cotton SE by transforming both hypocotyl and embryogenic calli (ECs) via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The GhHmgB3-deficient somatic cells of hypocotyls dedifferentiated more vigorously than the control cells, but they failed to differentiate to ECs. In another case, the proliferation and differentiation of GhHmgB3-deficient ECs were significantly improved, but failed to form plantlets. Over-expression of GhHmgB3 had no significant differences in callus initiation and differentiation compared with the control cell lines. The different expression genes between the control and GhHmgB3-deficient ECs were identified by Solexa sequencing technology. The bioinformatics analysis and experimental verification revealed series of abnormal mechanism associated with β-catenin signalling. These results in response to the down-regulation of GhHmgB3 revealed series of β-catenin-related mechanisms might be responsible for the deregulation of proliferation and differentiation of cells in cotton SE.