In field conditions, especially in arid and semi-arid areas, tea plants are often simultaneously exposed to various abiotic stresses such as cold and drought, which have profound effects on leaf senescence process and tea quality. However, most studies of gene expression in stress responses focus on a single inciting agent, and the confounding effect of multiple stresses on crop quality and leaf senescence remain unearthed. Here, global transcriptome profiles of tea leaves under separately cold and drought stress were compared with their combination using RNA-Seq technology. This revealed that tea plants shared a large overlap in unigenes displayed “similar” (26%) expression pattern and avoid antagonistic responses (lowest level of “prioritized” mode: 0%) to exhibit very congruent responses to co-occurring cold and drought stress; 31.5% differential expressed genes and 38% of the transcriptome changes in response to combined stresses were unpredictable from cold or drought single-case studies. We also identified 319 candidate genes for enhancing plant resistance to combined stress. We then investigated the combined effect of cold and drought on tea quality and leaf senescence. Our results showed that drought-induced leaf senescence were severely delayed by (i) modulation of a number of senescence-associated genes and cold responsive genes, (ii) enhancement of antioxidant capacity, (iii) attenuation of lipid degradation, (iv) maintenance of cell wall and photosynthetic system, (v) alteration of senescence-induced sugar effect/sensitivity, as well as (vi) regulation of secondary metabolism pathways that significantly influence the quality of tea during combined stress. Therefore, care should be taken when utilizing a set of stresses to try and maximize leaf longevity and tea quality.
Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is an economically important beverage crop. Drought stress (DS) seriously limits the growth and development of tea plant, thus affecting crop yield and quality. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of tea plant responding to DS, we performed transcriptomic analysis of tea plant during the three stages [control (CK) and during DS, and recovery (RC) after DS] using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Totally 378.08 million high-quality trimmed reads were obtained and assembled into 59,674 unigenes, which were extensively annotated. There were 5,955 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) among the three stages. Among them, 3,948 and 1,673 DEGs were up-regulated under DS and RC, respectively. RNA-Seq data were further confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis. Genes involved in abscisic acid (ABA), ethylene, and jasmonic acid biosynthesis and signaling were generally up-regulated under DS and down-regulated during RC. Tea plant potentially used an exchange pathway for biosynthesis of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and salicylic acid under DS. IAA signaling was possibly decreased under DS but increased after RC. Genes encoding enzymes involved in cytokinin synthesis were up-regulated under DS, but down-regulated during RC. It seemed probable that cytokinin signaling was slightly enhanced under DS. In total, 762 and 950 protein kinases belonging to 26 families were differentially expressed during DS and RC, respectively. Overall, 547 and 604 transcription factor (TF) genes belonging to 58 families were induced in the DS vs. CK and RC vs. DS libraries, respectively. Most members of the 12 TF families were up-regulated under DS. Under DS, genes related to starch synthesis were down-regulated, while those related to starch decomposition were up-regulated. Mannitol, trehalose and sucrose synthesis-related genes were up-regulated under DS. Proline was probably mainly biosynthesized from glutamate under DS and RC. The mechanism by which ABA regulated stomatal movement under DS and RC was partly clarified. These results document the global and novel responses of tea plant during DS and RC. These data will serve as a valuable resource for drought-tolerance research and will be useful for breeding drought-resistant tea cultivars.
Tea [Camellia sinensis (L) O. Kuntze, Theaceae] is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages worldwide. Cold stress is one of the most severe abiotic stresses that limit tea plants’ growth, survival and geographical distribution. However, the genetic regulatory network and signaling pathways involved in cold stress responses in tea plants remain unearthed. Using RNA-Seq, DGE and sRNA-Seq technologies, we performed an integrative analysis of miRNA and mRNA expression profiling and their regulatory network of tea plants under chilling (4℃) and freezing (-5℃) stress. Differentially expressed (DE) miRNA and mRNA profiles were obtained based on fold change analysis, miRNAs and target mRNAs were found to show both coherent and incoherent relationships in the regulatory network. Furthermore, we compared several key pathways (e.g., ‘Photosynthesis’), GO terms (e.g., ‘response to karrikin’) and transcriptional factors (TFs, e.g., DREB1b/CBF1) which were identified as involved in the early chilling and/or freezing response of tea plants. Intriguingly, we found that karrikins, a new group of plant growth regulators, and β-primeverosidase (BPR), a key enzyme functionally relevant with the formation of tea aroma might play an important role in both early chilling and freezing response of tea plants. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis further confirmed the results from RNA-Seq and sRNA-Seq analysis. This is the first study to simultaneously profile the expression patterns of both miRNAs and mRNAs on a genome-wide scale to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of early responses of tea plants to cold stress. In addition to gaining a deeper insight into the cold resistant characteristics of tea plants, we provide a good case study to analyse mRNA/miRNA expression and profiling of non-model plant species using next-generation sequencing technology.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important phytohormone responsible for activating drought resistance, but the regulation mechanism of exogenous ABA on tea plants under drought stress was rarely reported. Here, we analyzed the effects of exogenous ABA on genes and metabolites of tea leaves under drought stress using transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis. The results showed that the exogenous ABA significantly induced the metabolic pathways of tea leaves under drought stress, including energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism and flavonoids biosynthesis. In which, the exogenous ABA could clearly affect the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and flavonoid biosynthesis. Meanwhile, it also increased the contents of flavone, anthocyanins, flavonol, isoflavone of tea leaves under drought stress, including, kaempferitrin, sakuranetin, kaempferol, and decreased the contents of glycerophospholipids, glycerolipids and fatty acids of tea leaves under drought stress. The results suggested that the exogenous ABA could alleviate the damages of tea leaves under drought stress through inducing the expression of the genes and altering the contents of metabolites in response to drought stress. This study will be helpful to understand the mechanism of resilience to abiotic stress in tea plant and provide novel insights into enhancing drought tolerance in the future.
BackgroundNε-Acetylation of lysine residues, a frequently occurring post-translational modification, plays important functions in regulating physiology and metabolism. However, the information of global overview of protein acetylome under nitrogen-starvation/resupply in tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves was limited. And the full function of lysine acetylated proteins of tea plants in nitrogen absorption and assimilation remains unclear.ResultsHere, we performed the global review of lysine acetylome in tea leaves under nitrogen (N)-starvation/resupply, using peptide prefractionation, immunoaffinity enrichment, and coupling with high sensitive LC-MS/MS combined with affinity purification analysis. Altogether, 2229 lysine acetylation sites on 1286 proteins were identified, of which 16 conserved motifs in E*KacK, Kac*K, Kac*R, Kac*HK, Kac*N, Kac*S, Kac*T, Kac*D, were extracted from 2180 acetylated peptides. Approximately, 36.76% of the acetylated lysines were located in the regions of ordered secondary structures. The most of the identified lysine acetylation proteins were located in the chloroplast (39%) and cytoplasm (29%). The largest group of acetylated proteins consisted of many enzymes, such as ATP synthase, ribosomal proteins and malate dehydrogenase [NADP], which were related to metabolism (38%) in the biological process. These acetylated proteins were mainly enriched in three primary protein complexes of photosynthesis: photosystem I, photosystem II and the cytochrome b6/f complex. And some acetylated proteins related to glycolysis and secondary metabolite biosynthesis were increased/decreased under N-resupply. Moreover, the PPI (protein-protein interaction) analysis revealed that the diverse interactions of identified acetylated proteins mainly involved in photosynthesis and ribosome.ConclusionThe results suggested that lysine acetylated proteins might play regulating roles in metabolic process in tea leaves. The critical regulatory roles mainly involved in diverse aspects of metabolic processes, especially in photosynthesis, glycolysis and secondary metabolism. A lot of proteins related to the photosynthesis and glycolysis were found to be acetylated, including LHCA1, LHCA3, LHCB6, psaE, psaD, psaN, GAPDH, PEPC, ENL and petC. And some proteins related to flavonoids were also found to be acetylated, including PAL, DFR, naringenin 3-dioxygenase and CHI. The provided data may serve as important resources for exploring the physiological, biochemical, and genetic role of lysine acetylation in tea plants. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD008931.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s12864-018-5250-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Manipulating light transmission by shading is the most effective method of improving the nutritional value and sensory qualities of tea. In this study, the metabolic profiling of two tea cultivars (“Yulv” and “Maotouzhong”) in response to different shading periods during the summer season was performed using ultraperformance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The metabolic pathway analyses showed that the glycolytic pathway and the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) in the leaves and shoots of “Maotouzhong” were significantly inhibited by long-term shading. The nitrogen metabolism in the leaves of the two cultivars was promoted by short-term shading, while it was inhibited by long-term shading. However, the nitrogen metabolism in the shoots of the two cultivars was always inhibited by shading, whether for short or long-term periods. In addition, the intensity of the flavonoid metabolism in both tea cultivars could be reduced by shading. These results revealed that shading could regulate the carbon and nitrogen metabolism and short-term shading could improve the tea quality to some extent.
Drought stress triggers a series of physiological and biochemical changes in tea plants. It is well known that flavonoids, lignin and long-chain fatty acids play important roles in drought resistance. However, changes in proteins related to these three metabolic pathways in tea plants under drought stress have not been reported. We analysed the proteomic profiles of tea plants by tandem mass tag and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 4789 proteins were identified, of which 11 and 100 showed up- and downregulation, respectively. The proteins related to the biosynthesis of lignin, flavonoids and long-chain fatty acids, including phenylalanine ammonia lyase, cinnamoyl-CoA reductase, peroxidase, chalcone synthase, flavanone 3-hydroxylase, flavonol synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1,3-ketoacyl-CoA synthase 6 and 3-ketoacyl-CoA reductase 1, were downregulated. However, the contents of soluble proteins, malondialdehyde, total phenols, lignin and flavonoids in the tea plants increased. These results showed that tea plants might improve drought resistance by inhibiting the accumulation of synthases related to lignin, flavonoids and long-chain fatty acids. The proteomic spectrum of tea plants provides a scientific basis for studying the pathways related to lignin, flavonoid and long-chain fatty acid metabolism in response to drought stress.
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