Transcriptional data mining of Salvia miltiorrhiza in response to methyl jasmonate to examine the mechanism of bioactive compound biosynthesis and regulation

Hongmei Luo, Yingjie Zhu, Jingyuan Song, Lijia Xu, Chao Sun, Xin Zhang, Yanhong Xu, Liu He, Wei Sun, Haibin Xu, Bo Wang, Xian'en Li, Chuyuan Li, Juyan Liu, Shilin Chen
Physiologia Plantarum 2014, 152 (2): 241-55
Salvia miltiorrhiza is a Chinese herb with significant pharmacologic effects because of the bioactive compounds of tanshinones and phenolic acids. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) has been used as an effective elicitor to enhance the production of these compounds. However, the molecular mechanism of MeJA-mediated tanshinone and salvianolic acid biosynthesis remains unclear. The transcriptional profiles of S. miltiorrhiza leaves at 12 h (T12) after MeJA elicitation and mock-treated leaves (T0) were generated using the Illumina deep RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) strategy to detect the changes in gene expression in response to MeJA. In total, 37 647 unique sequences were obtained from about 21 million reads, and 25 641 (71.53%) of these sequences were annotated based on the blast searches against the public databases. A total of 5287 unique sequences were expressed differentially between the samples of T0 and T12, which covered almost all the known genes involved in tanshinone and phenolic acid biosynthesis in S. miltiorrhiza. Many of the transcription factors (e.g. MYB, bHLH and WRKY) and genes involved in plant hormone biosynthesis and signal transduction were expressed differentially in response to the MeJA induction. Importantly, three and four candidate cytochrome P450s (P450s) that could be involved in the tanshinone and phenolic acid biosynthesis, respectively, were selected from the RNA-seq data based on co-expressed pattern analysis with SmCPS1/SmKSL1 and SmRAS, which are the key genes responsible for biosynthesis. This comprehensive investigation of MeJA-induced gene expression profiles can shed light on the molecular mechanisms of the MeJA-mediated bioactive compound biosynthesis and regulation in S. miltiorrhiza.

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