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Mol Biol Rep. 2013 Jan;40(1):345-57. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-2067-0. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Comparative transcriptome analysis of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) leaves to identify aroma compound-related genes expressed in different cultivated regions.

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Guizhou Tobacco Research Institute, North Yuntan Road, Jinyang New District, Guiyang 550081, People's Republic of China.


To identify genes that are differentially expressed in tobacco in response to environmental changes and to decipher the mechanisms by which aromatic carotenoids are formed in tobacco, an Agilent Tobacco Gene Expression microarray was adapted for transcriptome comparison of tobacco leaves derived from three cultivated regions of China, Kaiyang (KY), Weining (WN) and Tianzhu (TZ). A total of 1,005 genes were differentially expressed between leaves derived from KY and TZ, 733 between KY and WN, and 517 between TZ and WN. Genes that were upregulated in leaves from WN and TZ tended to be involved in secondary metabolism pathways, and included several carotenoid pathway genes, e.g., NtPYS, NtPDS, and NtLCYE, whereas those that were down-regulated tended to be involved in the response to temperature and light. The expression of 10 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) was evaluated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and found to be consistent with the microarray data. Gene Ontology and MapMan analyses indicate that the genes that were differentially expressed among the three cultivated regions were associated with the light reaction of photosystem II, response to stimuli, and secondary metabolism. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed that leaves derived from KY had the lowest levels of lutein, β-carotene, and neoxanthin, whereas the total carotenoid content in leaves from TZ was greatest, a finding that could well be explained by the expression patterns of DEGs in the carotenoid pathway. These results may help elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying environmental adaptation and accumulation of aroma compounds in tobacco.

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