LIFE SCIENCE

Scientists have identified key genes that increase the production of essential oil in Acanthophyllum spp


Recently, the research team of characteristic forest resources breeding and cultivation of the Institute of Subtropical Forestry of the Chinese Academy of Forestry published a research paper online in Forestry Research. In this paper, DXR, a key gene in the essential oil synthesis pathway, was screened and identified, which provided a theoretical basis for revealing the synthesis mechanism of Lauraceae essential oil, and provided a scientific basis for the directional cultivation of high-yield and high-quality cultivars of Acanthophyllum saccharis.

Mountain fruit of the acanthus. Photo courtesy of Yalin, Chinese Academy of Forestry

Mountain canopy, belonging to the genus Lauraceae, fresh peel essential oil content is as high as 4~7%, is an important flavor and spice tree species in China. Because of its aromatic, antiviral, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory and other rich biological activities, it is widely used in food, medicine, crop pest control and advanced spices and other fields. China’s cultivation area of mountain cangzi is 210,600 mu, accounting for 0.04% of the total area of economic forests in the country. With an annual output of 140,100 tons, it is the world’s largest producer and exporter.

The content of monoterpene compounds in Acanthophyllum sinensis essential oil is as high as 98%, and how to increase the yield of monoterpenes based on key genes of biosynthetic pathway has become a hot spot in molecular breeding of Acanthophyllum spp. Deoxyxylose phosphate reducing isomerase (DXR) is a key rate-limiting enzyme that catalyzes the second step of the methyl–D-erythritol-4-phosphate biosynthesis pathway (MEP).

In this study, a deoxyxylose phosphate reducing isomerase gene LcDXR was identified based on the Acanthophyllum genomera. Tissue-specific expression analysis showed that LcDXR was expressed in roots, stems, leaves and fruits, and was significantly higher in the early and middle stages of fruit development, indicating that LcDXR may play an important role in the synthesis of monoterpenes in Acanthophyllum spp. fruit.

Transient overexpression of LcDXR significantly increased the content of monoterpenes in Acanthophyllum monta. Further studies of overexpressed LcDXR tobacco found a nearly 5.9-fold increase in the yield of monoterpene compounds including limonene, α-pinene, eucalyptol, linalool, terpineol, and camphor.

The results showed that LcDXR is a key gene in the synthesis pathway of Acanthophyllum sinensis and other plants, and is an effective target for creating high-content essential oil Acanthophyllum saccharia.

Zhao Yunxiao, assistant researcher of the Institute of Subtropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, is the first author, and Wang Yangdong, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, is the corresponding author of the paper. This achievement has been funded by the Zhejiang Provincial Major Science and Technology Project for the Selection and Breeding of New Agricultural (Forest) Varieties and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. (Source: Li Chen, China Science News)

Related paper information:https://doi.org/10.48130/FR-2023-0011



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