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1.  Olive phenolic compounds: metabolic and transcriptional profiling during fruit development 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:162.
Olive (Olea europaea L.) fruits contain numerous secondary metabolites, primarily phenolics, terpenes and sterols, some of which are particularly interesting for their nutraceutical properties. This study will attempt to provide further insight into the profile of olive phenolic compounds during fruit development and to identify the major genetic determinants of phenolic metabolism.
The concentration of the major phenolic compounds, such as oleuropein, demethyloleuropein, 3–4 DHPEA-EDA, ligstroside, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, verbascoside and lignans, were measured in the developing fruits of 12 olive cultivars. The content of these compounds varied significantly among the cultivars and decreased during fruit development and maturation, with some compounds showing specificity for certain cultivars. Thirty-five olive transcripts homologous to genes involved in the pathways of the main secondary metabolites were identified from the massive sequencing data of the olive fruit transcriptome or from cDNA-AFLP analysis. Their mRNA levels were determined using RT-qPCR analysis on fruits of high- and low-phenolic varieties (Coratina and Dolce d’Andria, respectively) during three different fruit developmental stages. A strong correlation was observed between phenolic compound concentrations and transcripts putatively involved in their biosynthesis, suggesting a transcriptional regulation of the corresponding pathways. OeDXS, OeGES, OeGE10H and OeADH, encoding putative 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-P synthase, geraniol synthase, geraniol 10-hydroxylase and arogenate dehydrogenase, respectively, were almost exclusively present at 45 days after flowering (DAF), suggesting that these compounds might play a key role in regulating secoiridoid accumulation during fruit development.
Metabolic and transcriptional profiling led to the identification of some major players putatively involved in biosynthesis of secondary compounds in the olive tree. Our data represent the first step towards the functional characterisation of important genes for the determination of olive fruit quality.
PMCID: PMC3480905  PMID: 22963618
Olea europaea; Phenolics; Secoiridoids; RT-qPCR; Transcriptome; Secondary metabolism
2.  Comparative 454 pyrosequencing of transcripts from two olive genotypes during fruit development 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:399.
Despite its primary economic importance, genomic information on olive tree is still lacking. 454 pyrosequencing was used to enrich the very few sequence data currently available for the Olea europaea species and to identify genes involved in expression of fruit quality traits.
Fruits of Coratina, a widely cultivated variety characterized by a very high phenolic content, and Tendellone, an oleuropein-lacking natural variant, were used as starting material for monitoring the transcriptome. Four different cDNA libraries were sequenced, respectively at the beginning and at the end of drupe development. A total of 261,485 reads were obtained, for an output of about 58 Mb. Raw sequence data were processed using a four step pipeline procedure and data were stored in a relational database with a web interface.
Massively parallel sequencing of different fruit cDNA collections has provided large scale information about the structure and putative function of gene transcripts accumulated during fruit development. Comparative transcript profiling allowed the identification of differentially expressed genes with potential relevance in regulating the fruit metabolism and phenolic content during ripening.
PMCID: PMC2748093  PMID: 19709400
3.  Arginine Catabolism by Sourdough Lactic Acid Bacteria: Purification and Characterization of the Arginine Deiminase Pathway Enzymes from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis CB1 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2002;68(12):6193-6201.
The cytoplasmic extracts of 70 strains of the most frequently isolated sourdough lactic acid bacteria were screened initially for arginine deiminase (ADI), ornithine transcarbamoylase (OTC), and carbamate kinase (CK) activities, which comprise the ADI (or arginine dihydrolase) pathway. Only obligately heterofermentative strains such as Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis CB1; Lactobacillus brevis AM1, AM8, and 10A; Lactobacillus hilgardii 51B; and Lactobacillus fructivorans DD3 and DA106 showed all three enzyme activities. Lactobacillus plantarum B14 did not show CK activity. L. sanfranciscensis CB1 showed the highest activities, and the three enzymes were purified from this microorganism to homogeneity by several chromatographic steps. ADI, OTC, and CK had apparent molecular masses of ca. 46, 39, and 37 kDa, respectively, and the pIs were in the range of 5.07 to 5.2. The OTCs, CKs, and especially ADIs were well adapted to pH (acidic, pH 3.5 to 4.5) and temperature (30 to 37°C) conditions which are usually found during sourdough fermentation. Internal peptide sequences of the three enzymes had the highest level of homology with ADI, OTC, and CK of Lactobacillus sakei. L. sanfranciscensis CB1 expressed the ADI pathway either on MAM broth containing 17 mM arginine or during sourdough fermentation with 1 to 43 mM added arginine. Two-dimensional electrophoresis showed that ADI, OTC, and CK were induced by factors of ca. 10, 4, and 2 in the whole-cell extract of cells grown in MAM broth containing 17 mM arginine compared to cells cultivated without arginine. Arginine catabolism in L. sanfranciscensis CB1 depended on the presence of a carbon source and arginine; glucose at up to ca. 54 mM did not exert an inhibitory effect, and the pH was not relevant for induction. The pH of sourdoughs fermented by L. sanfranciscensis CB1 was dependent on the amount of arginine added to the dough. A low supply of arginine (6 mM) during sourdough fermentation by L. sanfranciscensis CB1 enhanced cell growth, cell survival during storage at 7°C, and tolerance to acid environmental stress and favored the production of ornithine, which is an important precursor of crust aroma compounds.
PMCID: PMC134416  PMID: 12450844

Results 1-3 (3)