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Theor Appl Genet. 2003 Aug;107(4):751-6. Epub 2003 Jul 12.

Genetic mapping of a caffeoyl-coenzyme A 3-O-methyltransferase gene in coffee trees. Impact on chlorogenic acid content.

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IRD, BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Chlorogenic acids (CGA) are involved in the bitterness of coffee due to their decomposition in phenolic compounds during roasting. CGA mainly include caffeoyl-quinic acids (CQA), dicaffeoyl-quinic acids (diCQA) and feruloyl-quinic acids (FQA), while CQA and diCQA constitute CGA sensu stricto (CGA s.s.). In the two cultivated species Coffea canephora and Coffea arabica, CGA s.s. represents 88% and 95% of total CGA, respectively. Among all enzymes involved in CGA biosynthesis, caffeoyl-coenzyme A 3-O-methyltransferase (CCoAOMT) is not directly involved in the CGA s.s. pathway, but rather in an upstream branch leading to FQA through feruloyl-CoA. We describe how a partial cDNA corresponding to a CCoAOMT encoding gene was obtained and sequenced. Specific primers were designed and used for studying polymorphism and locating the corresponding gene on a genetic map obtained from an interspecific backcross between Coffea liberica var. Dewevrei and Coffea pseudozanguebariae. Offspring of this backcross were also evaluated for the chlorogenic acid content in their green beans. A 10% decrease was observed in backcross progenies that possess one C. pseudozanguebariae allele of the CCoAOMT gene. This suggests that CGA s.s. accumulation is dependent on the CCoAMT allele present and consequently on the activity of the encoded isoform, whereby CGA accumulation increases as the isoform activity decreases. Possible implications in coffee breeding are discussed.

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