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Plant Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;77(4-5):323-36. doi: 10.1007/s11103-011-9813-x. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

RNA-seq discovery, functional characterization, and comparison of sesquiterpene synthases from Solanum lycopersicum and Solanum habrochaites trichomes.

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Department of Plant Physiology, Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences, Science Park 904, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Solanum lycopersicum and Solanum habrochaites (f. typicum) accession PI127826 emit a variety of sesquiterpenes. To identify terpene synthases involved in the production of these volatile sesquiterpenes, we used massive parallel pyrosequencing (RNA-seq) to obtain the transcriptome of the stem trichomes from these plants. This approach resulted initially in the discovery of six sesquiterpene synthase cDNAs from S. lycopersicum and five from S. habrochaites. Searches of other databases and the S. lycopersicum genome resulted in the discovery of two additional sesquiterpene synthases expressed in trichomes. The sesquiterpene synthases from S. lycopersicum and S. habrochaites have high levels of protein identity. Several of them appeared to encode for non-functional proteins. Functional recombinant proteins produced germacrenes, β-caryophyllene/α-humulene, viridiflorene and valencene from (E,E)-farnesyl diphosphate. However, the activities of these enzymes do not completely explain the differences in sesquiterpene production between the two tomato plants. RT-qPCR confirmed high levels of expression of most of the S. lycopersicum sesquiterpene synthases in stem trichomes. In addition, one sesquiterpene synthase was induced by jasmonic acid, while another appeared to be slightly repressed by the treatment. Our data provide a foundation to study the evolution of terpene synthases in cultivated and wild tomato.

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