Proteomic insights into synthesis of isoflavonoids in soybean seeds.
Soybean seeds are the major human dietary source of isoflavonoids, a class of plant natural products almost entirely exclusive to legumes. Isoflavonoids reduce the risk of a number of chronic human illnesses. Biosynthesis and accumulation of this class of compounds is a multigenic and complex trait, with a great deal of variability among soybean cultivars and with respect to the environment. There is a wealth of genomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomics data regarding isoflavonoid biosynthesis, but the connection between multigene families and their cognate proteins is a missing link that could provide us with a great deal of functional information. The changing proteome of the developing seed can shed light on the correlative increase in isoflavonoids, while the maternal seed coat proteome can provide the link with inherited metabolic and signaling machinery. In this effort, 'seed-filling' proteomics has revealed key secondary metabolite enzymes that quantitatively vary throughout seed development. Seed coat proteomics has revealed the existence of metabolic apparatus specific to isoflavonoid biosynthesis (isoflavonoid reductase) that could potentially influence the chemical content of this organ. The future of proteomic analysis of isoflavonoid biosynthesis should be centered on the development of quantitative, tissue-specific proteomes that emphasize low-abundance metabolic proteins to extract the whole suite of factors involved.
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