An introduction to the medicinal plant genome project.
ABSTRACT In recent years, genomics has developed rapidly with the application of next-generation sequencing technology. However, very few studies have been carried out on genomics for medicinal plants. This paper introduces the genome research of medicinal plants, including genome sequencing, assembly, annotation, and functional genomics, to set up the foundation for the development of natural medicines and the selection of cultivars with good agricultural traits. This study places the study on traditional Chinese medicine into the frontier field of life science.
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ABSTRACT: Plants of the Huperziaceae family, which comprise the two genera Huperzia and Phlegmariurus, produce various types of lycopodium alkaloids that are used to treat a number of human ailments, such as contusions, swellings and strains. Huperzine A, which belongs to the lycodine type of lycopodium alkaloids, has been used as an anti-Alzheimer's disease drug candidate. Despite their medical importance, little genomic or transcriptomic data are available for the members of this family. We used massive parallel pyrosequencing on the Roche 454-GS FLX Titanium platform to generate a substantial EST dataset for Huperzia serrata (H. serrata) and Phlegmariurus carinatus (P. carinatus) as representative members of the Huperzia and Phlegmariurus genera, respectively. H. serrata and P. carinatus are important plants for research on the biosynthesis of lycopodium alkaloids. We focused on gene discovery in the areas of bioactive compound biosynthesis and transcriptional regulation as well as genetic marker detection in these species. For H. serrata, 36,763 unique putative transcripts were generated from 140,930 reads totaling over 57,028,559 base pairs; for P. carinatus, 31,812 unique putative transcripts were generated from 79,920 reads totaling over 30,498,684 base pairs. Using BLASTX searches of public databases, 16,274 (44.3%) unique putative transcripts from H. serrata and 14,070 (44.2%) from P. carinatus were assigned to at least one protein. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthology annotations revealed that the functions of the unique putative transcripts from these two species cover a similarly broad set of molecular functions, biological processes and biochemical pathways.In particular, a total of 20 H. serrata candidate cytochrome P450 genes, which are more abundant in leaves than in roots and might be involved in lycopodium alkaloid biosynthesis, were found based on the comparison of H. serrata and P. carinatus 454-ESTs and real-time PCR analysis. Four unique putative CYP450 transcripts (Hs01891, Hs04010, Hs13557 and Hs00093) which are the most likely to be involved in the biosynthesis of lycopodium alkaloids were selected based on a phylogenetic analysis. Approximately 115 H. serrata and 98 P. carinatus unique putative transcripts associated with the biosynthesis of triterpenoids, alkaloids and flavones/flavonoids were located in the 454-EST datasets. Transcripts related to phytohormone biosynthesis and signal transduction as well as transcription factors were also obtained. In addition, we discovered 2,729 and 1,573 potential SSR-motif microsatellite loci in the H. serrata and P. carinatus 454-ESTs, respectively. The 454-EST resource allowed for the first large-scale acquisition of ESTs from H. serrata and P. carinatus, which are representative members of the Huperziaceae family. We discovered many genes likely to be involved in the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds and transcriptional regulation as well as a large number of potential microsatellite markers. These results constitute an essential resource for understanding the molecular basis of developmental regulation and secondary metabolite biosynthesis (especially that of lycopodium alkaloids) in the Huperziaceae, and they provide an overview of the genetic diversity of this family.BMC Plant Biology 01/2010; 10:209. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Castor bean (Ricinus communis) is an oilseed crop that belongs to the spurge (Euphorbiaceae) family, which comprises approximately 6,300 species that include cassava (Manihot esculenta), rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) and physic nut (Jatropha curcas). It is primarily of economic interest as a source of castor oil, used for the production of high-quality lubricants because of its high proportion of the unusual fatty acid ricinoleic acid. However, castor bean genomics is also relevant to biosecurity as the seeds contain high levels of ricin, a highly toxic, ribosome-inactivating protein. Here we report the draft genome sequence of castor bean (4.6-fold coverage), the first for a member of the Euphorbiaceae. Whereas most of the key genes involved in oil synthesis and turnover are single copy, the number of members of the ricin gene family is larger than previously thought. Comparative genomics analysis suggests the presence of an ancient hexaploidization event that is conserved across the dicotyledonous lineage.Nature Biotechnology 09/2010; 28(9):951-6. · 32.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The plant working group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life recommended the two-locus combination of rbcL+matK as the plant barcode, yet the combination was shown to successfully discriminate among 907 samples from 550 species at the species level with a probability of 72%. The group admits that the two-locus barcode is far from perfect due to the low identification rate, and the search is not over. Here, we compared seven candidate DNA barcodes (psbA-trnH, matK, rbcL, rpoC1, ycf5, ITS2, and ITS) from medicinal plant species. Our ranking criteria included PCR amplification efficiency, differential intra- and inter-specific divergences, and the DNA barcoding gap. Our data suggest that the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) of nuclear ribosomal DNA represents the most suitable region for DNA barcoding applications. Furthermore, we tested the discrimination ability of ITS2 in more than 6600 plant samples belonging to 4800 species from 753 distinct genera and found that the rate of successful identification with the ITS2 was 92.7% at the species level. The ITS2 region can be potentially used as a standard DNA barcode to identify medicinal plants and their closely related species. We also propose that ITS2 can serve as a novel universal barcode for the identification of a broader range of plant taxa.PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(1):e8613. · 3.73 Impact Factor