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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jul 6;101(27):10205-10. Epub 2004 Jun 15.

Integration of transcriptomics and metabolomics for understanding of global responses to nutritional stresses in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan.


Plant metabolism is a complex set of processes that produce a wide diversity of foods, woods, and medicines. With the genome sequences of Arabidopsis and rice in hands, postgenomics studies integrating all "omics" sciences can depict precise pictures of a whole-cellular process. Here, we present, to our knowledge, the first report of investigation for gene-to-metabolite networks regulating sulfur and nitrogen nutrition and secondary metabolism in Arabidopsis, with integration of metabolomics and transcriptomics. Transcriptome and metabolome analyses were carried out, respectively, with DNA macroarray and several chemical analytical methods, including ultra high-resolution Fourier transform-ion cyclotron MS. Mathematical analyses, including principal component analysis and batch-learning self-organizing map analysis of transcriptome and metabolome data suggested the presence of general responses to sulfur and nitrogen deficiencies. In addition, specific responses to either sulfur or nitrogen deficiency were observed in several metabolic pathways: in particular, the genes and metabolites involved in glucosinolate metabolism were shown to be coordinately modulated. Understanding such gene-to-metabolite networks in primary and secondary metabolism through integration of transcriptomics and metabolomics can lead to identification of gene function and subsequent improvement of production of useful compounds in plants.

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