Expression analysis of flavonoid biosynthesis genes during Arabidopsis thaliana silique and seed development with a primary focus on the proanthocyanidin biosynthetic pathway
1 Bielefeld University, Department of Biology, Genome Research, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
2 International NRW Graduate School in Bioinformatics and Genome Research, Bielefeld University, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:255 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-255Published: 7 October 2010
The coordinated activity of different flavonoid biosynthesis genes in Arabidopsis thaliana results in tissue-specific accumulation of flavonols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins (PAs). These compounds possess diverse functions in plants including light-attenuation and oxidative stress protection. Flavonoids accumulate in a stimulus- and/or development-dependent manner in specific parts of the plant. PAs accumulate in the seed coat (testa).
We describe the biological material and the preparation of total RNA for the AtGenExpress developmental silique and seed series. AtGenExpress ATH1 GeneChip expression data from the different stages were reanalyzed and verified using quantitative real time PCR (qPCR). We observed organ-specific transcript accumulation of specific flavonoid biosynthetic genes consistent with previously published data and our PA compound accumulation data. In addition, we investigated the regulation of PA accumulation in developing A. thaliana seeds by correlating gene expression patterns of specific flavonoid biosynthesis genes with different seed embryonic developmental stages and organs and present two useful marker genes for isolated valve and replum organs, as well as one seed-specific marker.
Potential caveats of array-based expression data are discussed based on comparisons with qPCR data. Results from ATH1 microarray and qPCR experiments revealed a shift in gene activity from general flavonoid biosynthesis at early stages of seed development to PA synthesis at late (mature) stages of embryogenesis. The examined PA accumulation-associated genes, including biosynthetic and regulatory genes, were found to be exclusively expressed in immature seeds. Accumulation of PAs initiates at the early heart stage of silique and seed development. Our findings provide new insights for further studies targeting the PA pathway in seeds.