[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We used expressed sequence tag library and whole genome sequence mining to identify a suite of putative desaturase genes representing the four main activities required for production of polyunsaturated fatty acids in hemp seed oil. Phylogenetic-based classification and developing seed transcriptome analysis informed selection for further analysis of one of seven Δ12 desaturases and one of three Δ15 desaturases that we designate CSFAD2A and CSFAD3A, respectively. Heterologous expression of corresponding cDNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed CSFAD2A to have Δx+3 activity, while CSFAD3A activity was exclusively at the Δ15 position. TILLING of an ethyl methane sulphonate mutagenized population identified multiple alleles including non-sense mutations in both genes and fatty acid composition of seed oil confirmed these to be the major Δ12 and Δ15 desaturases in developing hemp seed. Following four backcrosses and sibling crosses to achieve homozygosity, csfad2a-1 was grown in the field and found to produce a 70 molar per cent high oleic acid (18:1(Δ9) ) oil at yields similar to wild type. Cold-pressed high oleic oil produced fewer volatiles and had a sevenfold increase in shelf life compared to wild type. Two low abundance octadecadienoic acids, 18:2(Δ6,9) and 18:2(Δ9,15) , were identified in the high oleic oil, and their presence suggests remaining endogenous desaturase activities utilize the increased levels of oleic acid as substrate. Consistent with this, CSFAD3A produces 18:2(Δ9,15) from endogenous 18:1(Δ9) when expressed in S. cerevisiae. This work lays the foundation for the development of additional novel oil varieties in this multipurpose low input crop.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Noscapine is an antitumor alkaloid from opium poppy that binds tubulin, arrests metaphase, and induces apoptosis in dividing human cells. Elucidation of the biosynthetic pathway will enable improvement in the commercial production of noscapine and related bioactive molecules. Transcriptomic analysis revealed the exclusive expression of 10 genes encoding five distinct enzyme classes in a high noscapine-producing poppy variety, HN1. Analysis of an F(2) mapping population indicated that these genes are tightly linked in HN1, and bacterial artificial chromosome sequencing confirmed that they exist as a complex gene cluster for plant alkaloids. Virus-induced gene silencing resulted in accumulation of pathway intermediates, allowing gene function to be linked to noscapine synthesis and a novel biosynthetic pathway to be proposed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Artemisinin is a plant natural product produced by Artemisia annua and the active ingredient in the most effective treatment for malaria. Efforts to eradicate malaria are increasing demand for an affordable, high-quality, robust supply of artemisinin. We performed deep sequencing on the transcriptome of A. annua to identify genes and markers for fast-track breeding. Extensive genetic variation enabled us to build a detailed genetic map with nine linkage groups. Replicated field trials resulted in a quantitative trait loci (QTL) map that accounts for a significant amount of the variation in key traits controlling artemisinin yield. Enrichment for positive QTLs in parents of new high-yielding hybrids confirms that the knowledge and tools to convert A. annua into a robust crop are now available.