Silencing of BnTT1 family genes affects seed flavonoid biosynthesis and alters seed fatty acid composition in Brassica napus

Jianping Lian, Xiaochun Lu, Nengwen Yin, Lijuan Ma, Jing Lu, Xue Liu, Jiana Li, Jun Lu, Bo Lei, Rui Wang, Yourong Chai
Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology 2017, 254: 32-47
TRANSPARENT TESTA1 (TT1) is a zinc finger protein that contains a WIP domain. It plays important roles in controlling differentiation and pigmentation of the seed coat endothelium, and can affect the expression of early biosynthetic genes and late biosynthetic genes of flavonoid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. In Brassica napus (AACC, 2n=38), the functions of BnTT1 genes remain unknown and few studies have focused on their roles in fatty acid (FA) biosynthesis. In this study, BnTT1 family genes were silenced by RNA interference, which resulted in yellow rapeseed, abnormal testa development (a much thinner testa), decreased seed weight, and altered seed FA composition in B. napus. High-throughput sequencing of genes differentially expressed between developing transgenic B. napus and wild-type seeds revealed altered expression of numerous genes involved in flavonoid and FA biosynthesis. As a consequence of this altered expression, we detected a marked decrease of oleic acid (C18:1) and notable increases of linoleic acid (C18:2) and α-linolenic acid (C18:3) in mature transgenic B. napus seeds by gas chromatography and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Meanwhile, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry showed reduced accumulation of flavonoids in transgenic seeds. Therefore, we propose that BnTT1s are involved in the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis, and may also play a role in FA biosynthesis in B. napus.

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