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Plant J. 2015 May;82(4):680-92. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12827. Epub 2015 Apr 11.

Genome-guided investigation of plant natural product biosynthesis.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Chemistry, The John Innes Centre, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.
2
Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.
3
The Genome Analysis Centre, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.
4
The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.

Abstract

The medicinal plant Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don, produces hundreds of biologically active monoterpene-derived indole alkaloid (MIA) metabolites and is the sole source of the potent, expensive anti-cancer compounds vinblastine and vincristine. Access to a genome sequence would enable insights into the biochemistry, control, and evolution of genes responsible for MIA biosynthesis. However, generation of a near-complete, scaffolded genome is prohibitive to small research communities due to the expense, time, and expertise required. In this study, we generated a genome assembly for C. roseus that provides a near-comprehensive representation of the genic space that revealed the genomic context of key points within the MIA biosynthetic pathway including physically clustered genes, tandem gene duplication, expression sub-functionalization, and putative neo-functionalization. The genome sequence also facilitated high resolution co-expression analyses that revealed three distinct clusters of co-expression within the components of the MIA pathway. Coordinated biosynthesis of precursors and intermediates throughout the pathway appear to be a feature of vinblastine/vincristine biosynthesis. The C. roseus genome also revealed localization of enzyme-rich genic regions and transporters near known biosynthetic enzymes, highlighting how even a draft genome sequence can empower the study of high-value specialized metabolites.

KEYWORDS:

Catharanthus roseus; alkaloid; genome; specialized metabolite; vinblastine

PMID:
25759247
DOI:
10.1111/tpj.12827
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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