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Key genes for oil production and storage in peony seeds identified

Greg Howard
June 16, 2024



Key genes for oil production and storage in peony seeds identified

Image source: Natural Science News, 2024

Main findings

  • Researchers from Yangzhou University studied the transcriptome of Paeonia lactiflora seeds to understand their genetic functions and molecular mechanisms
  • They identified 4905 transcripts related to lipid metabolism, including key genes involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis and storage.
  • The study found that the expression of these genes varied during seed development, providing valuable information for breeding oilseed varieties and improving oil production.
The herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) is well known in China for its medicinal root, Radix Paeoniae Alba. Recently, its seeds have attracted attention for their high content of unsaturated fatty acids, positioning it as a promising oilseed plant. However, the complete transcriptome sequencing of Paeonia lactiflora has not been explored extensively, hindering our understanding of its genetic functions and molecular mechanisms. Researchers from Yangzhou University sought to fill this gap by conducting an in-depth study on the transcriptome of Paeonia lactiflora seeds.(1). The researchers obtained 484,931 reads of insertion sequences (ROIs) and 1,455,771 complete non-chimeric reads (FLNCs). These sequences were used for various analyses, including CDS prediction, TF analysis, SSR analysis, and ncRNA identification. Gene function annotation and gene structure analysis revealed that 4905 transcripts were related to lipid metabolism biosynthetic pathways, involving 28 enzymes. Notably, 10 members of the oleosin (OLE) gene and 5 members of the diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) gene were identified after removing redundant sequences. These genes play a crucial role in the biosynthesis and storage of triacylglycerol (TAG), a type of fat found in seeds. The study also analyzed the physicochemical properties and secondary structures of these gene families, finding similarities within each family. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the distribution of OLE and DGAT family members in Paeonia lactiflora was similar to that of Arabidopsis, a model organism for plant biology. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analyzes revealed that the expression of these genes varied during different stages of seed development, first increasing and then decreasing. These results provide new information on the molecular mechanism of TAG biosynthesis and storage during the seedling stage of Paeonia lactiflora. This information is valuable for selecting and breeding oil varieties and understanding the functions of genes related to oil storage and lipid synthesis in this plant. The study builds on previous research on the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in other oilseed plants. For example, previous studies on Paeonia lactiflora 'Hangshao' identified key genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and oil accumulation, such as MCAT, KASIII, FATA, SAD, FAD2, FAD3, DGAT, and OLE.(2). Similarly, research on Prunus sibirica and Lindera glauca has provided insight into the transport mechanisms and regulatory pathways that enhance oil production in developing seeds.(3)(4). These studies collectively contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying petroleum biosynthesis in various plant species. By integrating the results of these previous studies, the current research at Yangzhou University not only expands our knowledge of Paeonia lactiflora, but also provides a basis for future research on oilseed plants. Identification of key genes and their expression patterns during seed development provides valuable information for breeding programs aimed at improving oil yield and quality. Additionally, understanding the molecular mechanisms of TAG biosynthesis and storage may lead to the development of novel strategies to improve oil production in other economically important oilseed plants. In summary, the comprehensive transcriptome analysis of Paeonia lactiflora conducted by researchers at Yangzhou University shed light on the molecular mechanisms of lipid metabolism of this promising oilseed plant. These results, combined with insights from previous studies, pave the way for future research and breeding efforts aimed at optimizing the yield and quality of oil from Paeonia lactiflora and other oilseed plants.


GeneticsBiochemistryPlant Science


The references

Main study

1) Identification of key genes for triacylglycerol biosynthesis and storage in grass peony (Paeonia lactifolra Pall.) seeds based on the complete transcriptome.

Published on June 15, 2024

Journal: BMC Genomics

Issue: Vol 25, Issue 1, June 2024


Related studies

2) Identification of genes associated with unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis and oil accumulation in seeds of herbaceous peony 'Hangshao' (Paeonia lactiflora 'Hangshao') based on transcriptome analysis.

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-07339-7


3) Comprehensive assessment of fuel properties and complex regulation of intracellular transporters for high oil production in Prunus sibirica seed development for woody biodiesel.

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-018-1347-x


4) Integrated 454 and Illumina transcriptomic sequencing analysis characterizes carbon flux and energy source for fatty acid synthesis in Lindera glauca fruit development for wood biodiesel.

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-017-0820-2




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