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Science. 2014 Nov 28;346(6213):1084-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1259215.

Plant science. Biosynthesis, regulation, and domestication of bitterness in cucumber.

Author information

1
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China. Agricultural Genomic Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen 518124, China.
2
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China. College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.
3
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China. Horticulture and Landscape College, Hunan Agricultural University, National Chinese Medicinal Herbs Technology Center, Changsha 410128, China.
4
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.
5
Hunan Vegetable Research Institute, Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changsha 410125, China.
6
Horticulture and Landscape College, Hunan Agricultural University, National Chinese Medicinal Herbs Technology Center, Changsha 410128, China.
7
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China.
8
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China. College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China.
9
Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.
10
School of Pharmacy, Nihon University, Tokyo 101-8308, Japan.
11
Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University, Wageningen 6700, Netherlands.
12
Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
13
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sino-Dutch Joint Laboratory of Horticultural Genomics, Beijing 100081, China. Agricultural Genomic Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen 518124, China. huangsanwen@caas.cn.

Abstract

Cucurbitacins are triterpenoids that confer a bitter taste in cucurbits such as cucumber, melon, watermelon, squash, and pumpkin. These compounds discourage most pests on the plant and have also been shown to have antitumor properties. With genomics and biochemistry, we identified nine cucumber genes in the pathway for biosynthesis of cucurbitacin C and elucidated four catalytic steps. We discovered transcription factors Bl (Bitter leaf) and Bt (Bitter fruit) that regulate this pathway in leaves and fruits, respectively. Traces in genomic signatures indicated that selection imposed on Bt during domestication led to derivation of nonbitter cucurbits from their bitter ancestors.

PMID:
25430763
DOI:
10.1126/science.1259215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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