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Transcriptomic Identification and Expression of Starch and Sucrose Metabolism Genes in the Seeds of Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima)

Zhang, Lin, Lin, Qing, Feng, Yanzhi, Fan, Xiaoming, Zou, Feng, Yuan, De-Yi, Zeng, Xiaochun, Cao, Heping
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2015 v.63 no.3 pp. 929-942
flowering, glucose-1-phosphate adenylyltransferase, trees, potatoes, metabolites, sucrose synthase, sucrose-phosphate synthase, amylopectin, gene expression regulation, leaves, transcriptomics, messenger RNA, Arabidopsis, amylose, complementary DNA, sucrose, Castanea mollissima, corn, cDNA libraries, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, biosynthesis, 1,4-alpha-glucan branching enzyme, unigenes, endosperm, starch synthase
The Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) seed provides a rich source of carbohydrates as food and feed. However, little is known about starch biosynthesis in the seeds. The objectives of this study were to determine seed composition profiles and identify genes involved in starch and sucrose metabolism. Metabolite analysis showed that starch was the major component and rapidly accumulated during seed endosperm development. Amylopectin was approximately 3-fold of amylose content in chestnut starch. Illumina platform-based transcriptome sequencing generated 56671 unigenes in two cDNA libraries from seed endosperms collected at 45 and 75 days after flowering (DAF). A total of 1537 unigenes showed expression differences ≥2-fold in the two stages of seeds including 570 up-regulated and 967 down-regulated unigenes. One hundred and fifty-two unigenes were identified as involved in starch and sucrose metabolism, including 1 for glycogenin glucosyltransferase, 4 for adenylate transporter (brittle1-type), 3 for ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP, not brittle2- or shrunken2-type), 3 for starch synthase (SS), 2 for starch branching enzyme, 5 for starch debranching enzyme, 11 for sucrose synthase, and 3 for sucrose-phosphate synthase. Among them, 58 unigenes showed a ≥2-fold expression difference between the 45 and 75 DAF seeds including 11 up- and 47 down-regulated unigenes. The expression of 21 unigenes putatively coding for major enzymes in starch and sucrose metabolism was validated by qPCR using RNA from five seed stages. Expression profiles and correlation analysis indicated that the mRNA levels of AGP (large and small subunits), granule-bound SS2, and soluble SS1 and SS4 were well-correlated with starch accumulation in the seeds. This study suggests that the starch biosynthesis pathway in Chinese chestnut is similar to that of potato tuber/Arabidopsis leaf and differs from that of maize endosperm. The information provides valuable metabolite and genetic resources for future research in starch and sucrose metabolism in Chinese chestnut tree.