The spatiotemporal regulations of epicatechin biosynthesis under normal flowering and the continuous inflorescence removal treatment in Fagopyrum dibotrys

BMC Plant Biol. 2022 Jul 29;22(1):379. doi: 10.1186/s12870-022-03761-z.


BACKGROUND: Flowering is a critical physiological change that interferes with not only biomass yield but also secondary metabolism, such as the biosynthesis of flavonoids, in rhizome/root plants. The continuous inflorescence removal (CIR) treatment is frequently conducted to weaken this effect. Fagopyrum dibotrys (D.Don) H.Hara (Golden buckwheat) is a kind of rhizome medicinal plant rich in flavonoids and is widely used for the treatment of lung diseases. The CIR treatment is usually conducted in F. dibotrys because of its excessive reproductive growth. To uncover the molecular mechanisms, comprehensive analysis was performed using metabolome and transcriptome data obtained from normally bloomed and the CIR treated plants.

RESULTS: Metabolome results demonstrated that in the rhizomes of F. dibotrys, its bioactive compound called epicatechin has higher amount than most of the detected precursors. Compared with the normally bloomed plants, the level of epicatechin in the rhizomes of the CIR group increased by 25% at the withering stage. Based on 96 samples of the control and the CIR groups at 4 flowering stages for 4 tissues, RNA-Seq results revealed a 3 ~ 5 times upregulations of all the key enzyme genes involved in the biosynthesis of epicatechin in both time (from the bud stage to the withering stage) and spatial dimensions (from the top of branch to rhizome) under the CIR treatment compared to normal flowering. Integrated analysis of LC-MS/MS and transcriptome revealed the key roles of several key enzyme genes besides anthocyanidin reductase (ANR). A total of 93 transcription factors were identified to co-expressed with the genes in epicatechin biosynthetic pathway. The flowering activator SQUAMOSA promoter-binding protein like (SPLs) exhibited opposite spatiotemporal expression patterns to that of the epicatechin pathway genes; SPL3 could significantly co-express with all the key enzyme genes rather than the flowering repressor DELLA. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) further confirmed the correlations among chalcone synthases (CHSs), chalcone isomerases (CHIs), ANRs, SPLs and other transcription factors.

CONCLUSIONS: SPL3 might dominantly mediate the effect of normal flowering and the CIR treatment on the biosynthesis of epicatechin in rhizomes mainly through the negative regulations of its key enzyme genes including CHS, CHI and ANR.

PMID:35906545 | PMC:PMC9336051 | DOI:10.1186/s12870-022-03761-z


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