Deep sequencing of Lotus corniculatus L. reveals key enzymes and potential transcription factors related to the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway.

Wang, Y., Hua, W., Wang, J., Hannoufa, A., Xu, Z., and Wang, Z. (2013). "Deep sequencing of Lotus corniculatus L. reveals key enzymes and potential transcription factors related to the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway.", Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 288(3-4), pp. 131-139. doi : 10.1007/s00438-013-0736-x  Access to full text

Abstract

Lotus corniculatus L. is used worldwide as a forage crop due to its abundance of secondary metabolites and its ability to grow in severe environments. Although the entire genome of L. corniculatus var. japonicus R. is being sequenced, the differences in morphology and production of secondary metabolites between these two related species have led us to investigate this variability at the genetic level, in particular the differences in flavonoid biosynthesis. Our goal is to use the resulting information to develop more valuable forage crops and medicinal materials. Here, we conducted Illumina/Solexa sequencing to profile the transcriptome of L. corniculatus. We produced 26,492,952 short reads that corresponded to 2.38 gigabytes of total nucleotides. These reads were then assembled into 45,698 unigenes, of which a large number associated with secondary metabolism were annotated. In addition, we identified 2,998 unigenes based on homology with L. japonicus transcription factors (TFs) and grouped them into 55 families. Meanwhile, a comparison of four tag-based digital gene expression libraries, built from the flowers, pods, leaves, and roots, revealed distinct patterns of spatial expression of candidate unigenes in flavonoid biosynthesis. Based on these results, we identified many key enzymes from L. corniculatus which were different from reference genes of L. japonicus, and five TFs that are potential enhancers in flavonoid biosynthesis. Our results provide initial genetics resources that will be valuable in efforts to manipulate the flavonoid metabolic pathway in plants.

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