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  • Evolution of a plant gene cluster in Solanaceae and emergence of metabolic diversity.

Evolution of a plant gene cluster in Solanaceae and emergence of metabolic diversity.

eLife (2020-07-03)
Pengxiang Fan, Peipei Wang, Yann-Ru Lou, Bryan J Leong, Bethany M Moore, Craig A Schenck, Rachel Combs, Pengfei Cao, Federica Brandizzi, Shin-Han Shiu, Robert L Last
ABSTRACT

Plants produce phylogenetically and spatially restricted, as well as structurally diverse specialized metabolites via multistep metabolic pathways. Hallmarks of specialized metabolic evolution include enzymatic promiscuity and recruitment of primary metabolic enzymes and examples of genomic clustering of pathway genes. Solanaceae glandular trichomes produce defensive acylsugars, with sidechains that vary in length across the family. We describe a tomato gene cluster on chromosome 7 involved in medium chain acylsugar accumulation due to trichome specific acyl-CoA synthetase and enoyl-CoA hydratase genes. This cluster co-localizes with a tomato steroidal alkaloid gene cluster and is syntenic to a chromosome 12 region containing another acylsugar pathway gene. We reconstructed the evolutionary events leading to this gene cluster and found that its phylogenetic distribution correlates with medium chain acylsugar accumulation across the Solanaceae. This work reveals insights into the dynamics behind gene cluster evolution and cell-type specific metabolite diversity.

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