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Molecular Elucidation of Two Novel Seed Specific Flavonoid Glycosyltransferases in Soybean

Rehman, Hafiz Mamoon, Nawaz, Muhammad Amjad, Shah, Zahid Hussain, Chung, Gyuhwa, Yang, Seung Hwan
Journal of plant biology 2018 v.61 no.5 pp. 320-329
Escherichia coli, allelochemicals, attractants, catalytic activity, flavanols, genes, glycoconjugates, glycosylation, glycosyltransferases, heterologous gene expression, kaempferol, metabolic engineering, myricetin, phylogeny, plant health, pollinators, quercetin, secondary metabolites, seed development, soybeans, sugars, symbionts
Flavonoids are specialized plant secondary metabolites that are mainly present as glycoconjugates and function as attractants to pollinators and symbionts, UV protectants, allelochemicals, and have antimicrobial and antiherbivore activity for plant health. Because of the heterogeneity of UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) for glycosylation in plants, their function in flavonoid glycosylation remains largely unknown in soybean and other legumes, particularly that of the UGT92 genes. Here, we identified 152 putative UGT92 genes across 48 plant species and elucidated their mode of duplication, expansion/deletion pattern, alignment, phylogenetic analysis, and genome-wide distribution. Two novel UGT-encoding genes Glyma14g04790 (UGT92G1) and Glyma15g03670 (UGT92G2) were isolated from soybean and their heterologous expression was optimized in Escherichia. coli. Both genes exhibited catalytic activity toward quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, with UDPglucose as the sugar donor and were characterized as flavanol-specific UGTs. High expression of both UGTs was observed in adaxial and abaxial parenchyma, suspensor cells, and adaxial and abaxial epidermis cells during seed development, suggesting that they are seed-specific flavanol glycosyltransferases in soybean. Co-expression analysis of UGT92 genes with their first and second neighborhood genes provided a basis for their network elucidation in soybean. We provide valuable information on the role of UGT92 in seed development via the glycosylation of multiple flavanols and the potential metabolic engineering of flavonoid compounds in both plants and E. coli.