Identifying stable reference genes for qRT-PCR normalisation in gene expression studies of narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.) Academic Article uri icon


  • Quantitative Reverse Transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is currently one of the most popular, high-throughput and sensitive technologies available for quantifying gene expression. Its accurate application depends heavily upon normalisation of gene-of-interest data with reference genes that are uniformly expressed under experimental conditions. The aim of this study was to provide the first validation of reference genes for Lupinus angustifolius (narrow-leafed lupin, a significant grain legume crop) using a selection of seven genes previously trialed as reference genes for the model legume, Medicago truncatula. In a preliminary evaluation, the seven candidate reference genes were assessed on the basis of primer specificity for their respective targeted region, PCR amplification efficiency, and ability to discriminate between cDNA and gDNA. Following this assessment, expression of the three most promising candidates [Ubiquitin C (UBC), Helicase (HEL), and Polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB)] was evaluated using the NormFinder and RefFinder statistical algorithms in two narrow-leafed lupin lines, both with and without vernalisation treatment, and across seven organ types (cotyledons, stem, leaves, shoot apical meristem, flowers, pods and roots) encompassing three developmental stages. UBC was consistently identified as the most stable candidate and has sufficiently uniform expression that it may be used as a sole reference gene under the experimental conditions tested here. However, as organ type and developmental stage were associated with greater variability in relative expression, it is recommended using UBC and HEL as a pair to achieve optimal normalisation. These results highlight the importance of rigorously assessing candidate reference genes for each species across a diverse range of organs and developmental stages. With emerging technologies, such as RNAseq, and the completion of valuable transcriptome data sets, it is possible that other potentially more suitable reference genes will be identified for this species in future.


  • Taylor, CM
  • Jost, R
  • Erskine, W
  • Nelson, MN

publication date

  • 2016