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Title: Mining the bitter melon (momordica charantia l.) seed transcriptome by 454 analysis of non-normalized and normalized cDNA populations for conjugated fatty acid metabolism-related genes

item YANG, PEIZHEN - Danforth Plant Science Center
item LI, XIANGJUN - Danforth Plant Science Center
item SHIPP, MATTHEW - Danforth Plant Science Center
item Shockey, Jay
item CAHOON, EDGAR - Danforth Plant Science Center

Submitted to: BMC Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2010
Publication Date: 11/16/2010
Citation: Yang, P., Li, X., Shipp, M.J., Shockey, J.M., Cahoon, E.B. 2010. Mining the bitter melon (momordica charantia l.) seed transcriptome by 454 analysis of non-normalized and normalized cDNA populations for conjugated fatty acid metabolism-related genes. Biomed Central (BMC) Plant Biology. 10:250.

Interpretive Summary: Vegetable oils are a valuable commodity. Many of the plants that produce them can be genetically altered to make different types of oils that contain healthier fatty acid groups (for edible oils) or novel fatty acids that contains valuable industrial chemistry properties. These new oils could replace petroleum-based compounds in many everyday products such as nylons, plastics, inks, and dyes. Some exotic oilseed plants already make these valuable unusual oils, but most of these plants do not grow well in general farming systems in North America. The key is to find the right genes for this job in the novel oil plants and transfer them to common oil plants like soybean, cotton, or Arabidopsis. In order to obtain the appropriate genes new technologies have been developed that allow for discovery of many thousands of genes at once, rather than the typical one-gene-at-a-time approach of the past. This study details the gene discovery and identification analyses of samples taken from developing seeds of Momordica charantia, a relative of melons, that contains a high concentration of a novel industrially-important fatty acid in its seed oil. Many interesting target genes were found; these hold great potential for future crop engineering strategies.

Technical Abstract: Seeds of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) produce high levels of eleostearic acid, an unusual conjugated fatty acid with industrial value. Deep sequencing of non-normalized and normalized cDNAs from developing bitter melon seeds was conducted to uncover key genes required for biotechnological transfer of conjugated fatty acid production to existing oilseed crops. It is expected that these studies will also provide basic information regarding the metabolism of other high-value novel fatty acids. Results: Deep sequencing using 454 technology with non-normalized and normalized cDNA libraries prepared from bitter melon seeds at 18 DAP resulted in the identification of transcripts for the vast majority of known genes involved in fatty acid and triacylglycerol biosynthesis. The non-normalized library provided a transcriptome profile of the early stage in seed development that highlighted the abundance of transcripts for genes encoding seed storage proteins as well as for a number of genes for lipid metabolism-associated polypeptides, including delta 12 oleic acid desaturases and fatty acid conjugases, class 3 lipases, acyl-carrier protein, and acyl-CoA binding protein. Normalization of cDNA by use of a duplex-specific nuclease method not only increased the overall discovery of genes from developing bitter melon seeds, but also resulted in the identification of 345 contigs with homology to 189 known lipid genes in Arabidopsis. These included candidate genes for eleostearic acid metabolism such as diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 and 2, and a phospholipid:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1-related enzyme. Transcripts were also identified for a novel FAD2 gene encoding a functional delta 12 oleic acid desaturase with potential implications for eleostearic acid biosynthesis. Conclusions: 454 deep sequencing, particularly with normalized cDNA populations, was an effective method for mining of genes associated with eleostearic acid metabolism in developing bitter melon seeds. The transcriptomic data presented provide a resource for the study of novel fatty acid metabolism and for the biotechnological production of conjugated fatty acids and possibly other novel fatty acids in established oilseed crops.