The Macleaya spp., including Macleaya cordata and Macleaya microcarpa, are traditional anti-virus, inflammation eliminating, and insecticide herb medicines for their isoquinoline alkaloids. They are also known as the basis of the popular natural animal food addictive in Europe. However, few studies especially at genomics level were conducted on them. Hence, we performed the Macleaya spp. transcriptome and integrated it with iTRAQ proteome analysis in order to identify potential genes involved in alkaloids biosynthesis.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We elaborately designed the transcriptome, proteome and metabolism profiling for 10 samples of both species to explore their alkaloids biosynthesis. From the transcriptome data, we obtained 69367 and 78255 unigenes for M. cordata and M. microcarpa, in which about two thirds of them were similar to sequences in public databases. By metabolism profiling, reverse patterns for alkaloids sanguinarine, chelerythrine, protopine, and allocryptopine were observed in different organs of two species. We characterized the expressions of enzymes in alkaloid biosynthesis pathways. We also identified more than 1000 proteins from iTRAQ proteome data. Our results strongly suggest that the root maybe the organ for major alkaloids biosynthesis of Macleaya spp. Except for biosynthesis, the alkaloids storage and transport were also important for their accumulation. The ultrastructure of laticifers by SEM helps us to prove the alkaloids maybe accumulated in the mature roots.
To our knowledge this is the first study to elucidate the genetic makeup of Macleaya spp. This work provides clues to the identification of the potential modulate genes involved in alkaloids biosynthesis in Macleaya spp., and sheds light on researches for non-model medicinal plants by integrating different high-throughput technologies.