Transcriptome analysis of buds and leaves using 454 pyrosequencing to discover genes associated with the biosynthesis of active ingredients in Lonicera japonica Thunb

Liu He, Xiaolan Xu, Ying Li, Chunfang Li, Yingjie Zhu, Haixia Yan, Zhiying Sun, Chao Sun, Jingyuan Song, Yu'an Bi, Juan Shen, Ruiyang Cheng, Zhenzhong Wang, Wei Xiao, Shilin Chen
PloS One 2013, 8 (4): e62922

BACKGROUND: Lonicera japonica Thunb. is a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic, and antiviral pharmacological properties. The major active secondary metabolites of this plant are chlorogenic acid (CGA) and luteoloside. While the biosynthetic pathways of these metabolites are relatively well known, the genetic information available for this species, especially the biosynthetic pathways of its active ingredients, is limited.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We obtained one million reads (average length of 400 bp) in a whole sequence run using a Roche/454 GS FLX titanium platform. Altogether, 85.69% of the unigenes covering the entire life cycle of the plant were annotated and 325 unigenes were assigned to secondary metabolic pathways. Moreover, 2039 unigenes were predicted as transcription factors. Nearly all of the possible enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of CGA and luteoloside were discovered in L. japonica. Three hydroxycinnamoyl transferase genes, including two hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase genes and one hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HCT) gene featuring high similarity to known genes from other species, were cloned. The HCT gene was discovered for the first time in L. japonica. In addition, 188 candidate cytochrome P450 unigenes and 245 glycosyltransferase unigenes were found in the expressed sequence tag (EST) dataset.

CONCLUSION: This study provides a high quality EST database for L. japonica by 454 pyrosequencing. Based on the EST annotation, a set of putative genes involved in CGA and luteoloside biosynthetic pathways were discovered. The database serves as an important source of public information on genetic markers, gene expression, genomics, and functional genomics in L. japonica.

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