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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312877

Research Project: Enhancing Plant Genome Function Maps Through Genomic, Genetic, Computational and Collaborative Research

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Metabolomic profiling of the nectars of Aquilegia pubescens and A. canadensis

item NOUTSOS, CHRISTOS - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
item PERERA, M. ANN - Iowa State University
item NIKOLAU, BASIL - Iowa State University
item SEAVER, SAMUEL - Argonne National Laboratory
item Ware, Doreen

Submitted to: PLoS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/2015
Publication Date: 5/1/2015
Publication URL: http://DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124501
Citation: Noutsos, C., Perera, M., Nikolau, B.J., Seaver, S., Ware, D. 2015. Metabolomic profiling of the nectars of Aquilegia pubescens and A. canadensis. PLoS One. 10(5):e0124501.

Interpretive Summary: With this work we gain insight on how different pollinators interact with plants, the type of metabolites that are specific for each of the flowers of the two species we studied, and which metabolites are shared between the species but expressed differently. We have also reconstructed the metabolic pathway for the whole genome of Aquilegia for the first time. This will support insight into whole plant level the pathways that are available to this basal flowering plant in relation with other plant species.

Technical Abstract: To date, variation in nectar chemistry of flowering plants has not been studied in detail. Such variation exerts considerable influence on pollinator–plant interactions, as well as on flower traits that play important roles in the selection of a plant for visitation by specific pollinators. Over the past 60 years the Aquilegia genus has been used as a key model for speciation studies. In this study, we defined the metabolomic profiles of flower samples of two Aquilegia species, A. canadensis and A. pubescens. We identified a total of 75 metabolites that were classified into six main categories: organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids, esters, sugars, and unknowns. The mean abundances of 25 of these metabolites were significantly different between the two species, providing insights into interspecies variation in floral chemistry. Using the PlantSEED biochemistry database to identify the various pathways in which these metabolites are involved, we found that the majority of the metabolites are involved in biosynthetic processes. Finally, we explored the annotated genome of A. coerulea, using the PlantSEED pipeline and reconstructed the metabolic network of Aquilegia. This network, which contains the metabolic pathways involved in generating the observed chemical variation, is now publicly available from the DOE Systems Biology Knowledge Base (KBase;