Alkaloid chemophenetics and transcriptomics of the Nicotiana genus

Authored by  K P. Kaminski, L Bovet, H Laparra, G Lang, D De Palo, N Sierro, S Goepfert, NV Ivanov

Published in Phytochemistry    


In this study, we determined the pyridine alkaloid content (nicotine, nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine, cotinine, and myosmine) of 58 species and 2 subspecies of the Nicotiana genus by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. We observed clear correlation between Noctiflorae and Suaveolentes sections and their above average accumulation of anabasine in the genus. In addition, the results demonstrated the presence of not only trace amounts but quantifiable levels of myosmine, an alkaloid previously detected in only minute quantities, in the leaves and roots of 16 species. In this study, analysis of gene expression of 58 species and 2 subspecies from the Nicotiana genus by mRNA sequencing was performed for the first time. Sequencing reads were mapped against annotated genes of a Nicotiana tabacum reference genome and expression values were subsequently calculated. Hierarchical clustering of alkaloid biosynthesis pathway genes and alkaloid content composition revealed patterns clearly segregating Nicotiana sections. Correlation of gene expression with alkaloid accumulation phenotypes was evident, including low putrescine methyltransferase expression for all species in the Suaveolentes section or clear correlation of nicotine demethylase with conversion rates of nicotine to nornicotine in the majority of species. Multiple additional correlations between alkaloid accumulation and gene expression values were identified, which makes this study an important fundament toward future scientific exploration of the Nicotiana genus.