Transcriptome of Seed Coat and Identification of Genes for the Biosynthesis of Flavonoids
Brassica juncea, a worldwide cultivated crop plant, produces seeds of different colors. Seed pigmentation is due to the deposition in endothelial cells of proanthocyanidins (PAs), end products from a branch of flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. To elucidate the gene regulatory network of seed pigmentation in B. juncea, transcriptomes in seed coat of a yellow-seeded inbred line and its brown-seeded near- isogenic line were sequenced using the next-generation sequencing platform Illumina/Solexa and de novo assembled. Over 116 million high-quality reads were assembled into 69,605 unigenes, of which about 71.5% (49,758 unigenes) were aligned to Nr protein database with a cut-off E-value of 10−5. RPKM analysis showed that the brown-seeded testa up-regulated 802 unigenes and down-regulated 502 unigenes as compared to the yellow-seeded one. Biological pathway analysis revealed the involvement of forty six unigenes in flavonoid biosynthesis. The unigenes encoding dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR), leucoantho-cyanidin dioxygenase (LDOX) and anthocyanidin reductase (ANR) for late flavonoid biosynthesis were not expressed at all or at a very low level in the yellow-seeded testa, which implied that these genes for PAs biosynthesis be associated with seed color of B. juncea, as confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis of these genes. To our knowledge, it is the first time to sequence the transcriptome of seed coat in Brassica juncea. The unigene sequences obtained in this study will not only lay the foundations for insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying seed pigmentation in B.juncea, but also provide the basis for further genomics research on this species or its allies.