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Molecules 2014, 19(8), 11250-11262; doi:10.3390/molecules190811250

Molecular Characterization of Carotenoid Biosynthetic Genes and Carotenoid Accumulation in Lycium chinense

1
Department of Crop Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, 79 Daehangno, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-764, Korea
2
Division of Life Sciences, Incheon National University, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-772, Korea
3
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Addiriyah Chair for Environmental Studies, College of Science, King Saud University, P. O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
4
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 April 2014 / Revised: 12 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Abstract

Lycium chinense is a shrub that has health benefits and is used as a source of medicines in Asia. In this study, a full-length cDNA clone encoding β-ring carotene hydroxylase (LcCHXB) and partial-length cDNA clones encoding phytoene synthase (LcPSY), phytoene desaturase (LcPDS), ξ-carotene desaturase (LcZDS), lycopene β-cyclase (LcLCYB), lycopene ε-cyclase (LcLCYE), ε-ring carotene hydroxylase (LcCHXE), zeaxanthin epoxidase (LcZEP), carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (LcCCD1), and 9-cis epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (LcNCED) were identified in L. chinense. The transcripts were constitutively expressed at high levels in leaves, flowers and red fruits, where the carotenoids are mostly distributed. In contrast, most of the carotenoid biosynthetic genes were weakly expressed in the roots and stems, which contained only small amounts of carotenoids. The level of LcLCYE transcripts was very high in leaves and correlated with the abundance of lutein in this plant tissue. During maturation, the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in L. chinense fruits dramatically increased, concomitant with a rise in the level of β-cryptoxanthin. LcPSY, LcPDS, LcZDS, LcLCYB, and LcCHXE were highly expressed in red fruits, leading to their substantially higher total carotenoid content compared to that in green fruits. Total carotenoid content was high in both the leaves and red fruits of L. chinense. Our findings on the biosynthesis of carotenoids in L. chinense provide insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and may facilitate the optimization of carotenoid production in L. chinense. View Full-Text
Keywords: carotenoids; gene characterization; lutein; Lycium chinense; zeaxanthin carotenoids; gene characterization; lutein; Lycium chinense; zeaxanthin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, S.; Tuan, P.A.; Kim, J.K.; Park, W.T.; Kim, Y.B.; Arasu, M.V.; Al-Dhabi, N.A.; Yang, J.; Li, C.H.; Park, S.U. Molecular Characterization of Carotenoid Biosynthetic Genes and Carotenoid Accumulation in Lycium chinense. Molecules 2014, 19, 11250-11262.

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