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Insight into Catechins Metabolic Pathways of Camellia sinensis Based on Genome and Transcriptome Analysis

Wang, Wenzhao, Zhou, Yihui, Wu, Yingling, Dai, Xinlong, Liu, Yajun, Qian, Yumei, Li, Mingzhuo, Jiang, Xiaolan, Wang, Yunsheng, Gao, Liping, Xia, Tao
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2018 v.66 no.16 pp. 4281-4293
Camellia sinensis, bioactive compounds, biochemical pathways, biosynthesis, correlation, databases, flavanols, flavor, introns, loci, multigene family, polymerase chain reaction, structural genes, tea, tissues, transcription (genetics), transcriptomics
Tea is an important economic crop with a 3.02 Gb genome. It accumulates various bioactive compounds, especially catechins, which are closely associated with tea flavor and quality. Catechins are biosynthesized through the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid pathways, with 12 structural genes being involved in their synthesis. However, we found that in Camellia sinensis the understanding of the basic profile of catechins biosynthesis is still unclear. The gene structure, locus, transcript number, transcriptional variation, and function of multigene families have not yet been clarified. Our previous studies demonstrated that the accumulation of flavonoids in tea is species, tissue, and induction specific, which indicates that gene coexpression patterns may be involved in tea catechins and flavonoids biosynthesis. In this paper, we screened candidate genes of multigene families involved in the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid pathways based on an analysis of genome and transcriptome sequence data. The authenticity of candidate genes was verified by PCR cloning, and their function was validated by reverse genetic methods. In the present study, 36 genes from 12 gene families were identified and were accessed in the NCBI database. During this process, some intron retention events of the CsCHI and CsDFR genes were found. Furthermore, the transcriptome sequencing of various tea tissues and subcellular location assays revealed coexpression and colocalization patterns. The correlation analysis showed that CsCHIc, CsF3′H, and CsANRb expression levels are associated significantly with the concentration of soluble PA as well as the expression levels of CsPALc and CsPALf with the concentration of insoluble PA. This work provides insights into catechins metabolism in tea and provides a foundation for future studies.