Terpenoids are a wide variety of natural products and terpene synthase (TPS) plays a key role in the biosynthesis of terpenoids. Mentha plants are rich in essential oils, whose main components are terpenoids, and their biosynthetic pathways have been basically elucidated. However, there is a lack of systematic identification and study of TPS in Mentha plants. In this work, we genome-widely identified and analyzed the TPS gene family in Mentha longifolia, a model plant for functional genomic research in the genus Mentha. A total of 63 TPS genes were identified in the M. longifolia genome sequence assembly, which could be divided into six subfamilies. The TPS-b subfamily had the largest number of genes, which might be related to the abundant monoterpenoids in Mentha plants. The TPS-e subfamily had 18 members and showed a significant species-specific expansion compared with other sequenced Lamiaceae plant species. The 63 TPS genes could be mapped to nine scaffolds of the M. longifolia genome sequence assembly and the distribution of these genes is uneven. Tandem duplicates and fragment duplicates contributed greatly to the increase in the number of TPS genes in M. longifolia. The conserved motifs (RR(X)8W, NSE/DTE, RXR, and DDXXD) were analyzed in M. longifolia TPSs, and significant differentiation was found between different subfamilies. Adaptive evolution analysis showed that M. longifolia TPSs were subjected to purifying selection after the species-specific expansion, and some amino acid residues under positive selection were identified. Furthermore, we also cloned and analyzed the catalytic activity of a single terpene synthase, MlongTPS29, which belongs to the TPS-b subfamily. MlongTPS29 could encode a limonene synthase and catalyze the biosynthesis of limonene, an important precursor of essential oils from the genus Mentha. This study provides useful information for the biosynthesis of terpenoids in the genus Mentha.
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferases (GPATs) play an important role in glycerolipid biosynthesis, and are mainly involved in oil production, flower development, and stress response. However, their roles in regulating plant height remain unreported. Here, we report that Arabidopsis GPAT1 is involved in the regulation of plant height. GUS assay and qRT-PCR analysis in Arabidopsis showed that GPAT1 is highly expressed in flowers, siliques, and seeds. A loss of function mutation in GPAT1 was shown to decrease seed yield but increase plant height through enhanced cell length. Transcriptomic and qRT-PCR data revealed that the expression levels of genes related to gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis and signaling, as well as those of cell wall organization and biogenesis, were significantly upregulated. These led to cell length elongation, and thus, an increase in plant height. Together, our data suggest that knockout of GPAT1 impairs glycerolipid metabolism in Arabidopsis, leading to reduced seed yield, but promotes the biosynthesis of GA, which ultimately enhances plant height. This study provides new evidence on the interplay between lipid and hormone metabolism in the regulation of plant height.
Light is a key environmental aspect that regulates secondary metabolic synthesis. The essential oil produced in mint (Mentha canadensis L.) leaves is used widely in the aromatics industry and in medicine. Under low-light treatment, significant reductions in peltate glandular trichome densities were observed. GC-MS analysis showed dramatically reduced essential oil and menthol contents. Light affected the peltate glandular trichomes’ development and essential oil yield production. However, the underlying mechanisms of this regulation were elusive. To identify the critical genes during light-regulated changes in oil content, following a 24 h darkness treatment and a 24 h recovery light treatment, leaves were collected for transcriptome analysis. A total of 95,579 unigenes were obtained, with an average length of 754 bp. About 56.58% of the unigenes were annotated using four public protein databases: 10,977 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found to be involved in the light signaling pathway and monoterpene synthesis pathway. Most of the TPs showed a similar expression pattern: downregulation after darkness treatment and upregulation after the return of light. In addition, the genes involved in the light signal transduction pathway were analyzed. A series of responsive transcription factors (TFs) were identified and could be used in metabolic engineering as an effective strategy for increasing essential oil yields.
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