Special Issue "Genetic and Molecular Mechanisms in Plant-Derived Compounds for Industrial Purposes"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Manuela Rigano

Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Naples, Italy.
Dr. Christoph Crocoll

Guest Editor
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Section for Molecular Plant Biology, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
Dr. Teresa Docimo

Guest Editor
CNR-IBBR Institute of Bioscience and BioResources Via Universita' 133, 80055 Portici, Naples, Italy.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants produce a terrific panoply of metabolites involved in many biological mechanisms, which can be exploited for the wellbeing of humans and environment. This array of compounds includes valuable molecules with a broad spectrum of application. As green factories, plants may provide bioactive molecules, proteins, carbohydrates and biopolymers for a sustainable, large-scale production of commodities such as pharmaceuticals, antioxidants, food, feed, chemicals, materials and biofuels for multiple industrial processes. Insights on biosynthesis, catabolism and regulation of these bioactive molecules can be pursued through advanced molecular tools coupled with metabolomics, which in turn allow an accurate identification of the main biosynthetic genes and molecular mechanisms involved in the accumulation of these compounds. Moreover, synergy between disciplines also apparently distant such as plant physiology, pharmacology, ‘omic sciences, bioinformatics and nanotechnology, paves the path to the emergence of novel applications of plants as metabolic factories of bioactive compounds for wide-ranging purposes.

The Forthcoming Special Issue intends to deepen knowledge on plant-based compounds biosynthesis and its orchestration and on innovative approaches of plant biotechnology highly relevant for the development of sustainable improvements in food quality, nutrition, public health and bioenergy.

Dr. Maria Manuela Rigano
Dr. Christoph Crocoll
Dr. Teresa Docimo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Vegetables, crop, and tree
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Genomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Genome editing
  • Medicinal plants
  • Plant Natural products
  • Plant biotechnology
  • Biofortification

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Molecular Pharming of the Recombinant Protein hEGF-hEGF Concatenated with Oleosin Using Transgenic Arabidopsis
Genes 2020, 11(9), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11090959 - 19 Aug 2020
Abstract
We set out to assess the NIH/3T3 cell proliferation activity of Arabidopsis oil body-expressed recombinant oleosin–hEGF–hEGF protein. Normally, human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) is purified through complex process, however, oleosin fusion technology provides an inexpensive and scalable platform for its purification. Under a [...] Read more.
We set out to assess the NIH/3T3 cell proliferation activity of Arabidopsis oil body-expressed recombinant oleosin–hEGF–hEGF protein. Normally, human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) is purified through complex process, however, oleosin fusion technology provides an inexpensive and scalable platform for its purification. Under a phaseolin promoter, we concatenated oleosin gene to double hEGF (hEGF–hEGF) with plant-preferred codons in the expression vectors and the construct was transformed into Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis). The transgenic Arabidopsis was validated by RT–PCR and the content of recombinant protein oleosin–hEGF–hEGF was quantified by western blot. Subsequently, the proliferation assay and transdermal absorption were determined by MTT method and immunohistochemical staining, respectively. First, the expression level of hEGF was recorded to be 14.83-ng/μL oil body and due to smaller size transgenic oil bodies expressing the recombinant oleosin–hEGF–hEGF, they were more skin permeable than those of control. Second, via the staining intensity of transgenic oil bodies was greater than EGF at all time points via immunohistochemical staining in transdermal absorption process. Lastly, activity assays of oil bodies expressed oleosin–hEGF–hEGF indicated that they stimulated the NIH/3T3 cell proliferation activity. Our results revealed oil-body-expressed oleosin–hEGF–hEGF was potential new material having implications in the field of medicine. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A New Strategy to Increase Production of Genoprotective Bioactive Molecules from Cotyledon-Derived Silybum marianum L. Callus
Genes 2020, 11(7), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070791 - 14 Jul 2020
Abstract
There is a need to enhance the production of bioactive secondary metabolites and to establish new production systems, e.g., for liver-protective compounds of Silybum marianum seeds. Quantifying and identifying the produced phytochemicals, and examining their protective effects against genotoxic agents, is of great [...] Read more.
There is a need to enhance the production of bioactive secondary metabolites and to establish new production systems, e.g., for liver-protective compounds of Silybum marianum seeds. Quantifying and identifying the produced phytochemicals, and examining their protective effects against genotoxic agents, is of great interest. This study established a protocol for the qualitative and quantitative production of hepatoprotective compounds in cotyledon-derived Silybum marianum callus through optimized supplementation of the MS medium with the growth regulators 2,4-D, benzylaminopurine, myoinositol, and asparagine. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) allowed for identification and quantification of the produced compounds. None of the growth medium combinations supported a detectable production of silymarin. Instead, the generated calli accumulated phenolic acids, in particular chlorogenic acid and dicaffeoylquinic acid, as revealed by HPLC and mass spectrometric analysis. 4-Nitro-o-phenylenediamine (NPD) was employed in the AMES-test with Salmonella typhimurium strain TA98 because it is a potent mutagen for this strain. Results revealed that callus extract had a high anti-genotoxic activity with respect to standard silymarin but more evident with respect seed extract. The callus produced chlorogenic acid and dicaffeoylquinic acid, which revealed higher bioactivity than silymarin. Both compounds were not formed or could not be detected in the seeds of Silybum marianum Egyptian ecotype. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Molecular Mechanism Underlying Mechanical Wounding-Induced Flavonoid Accumulation in Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen, an Endangered Tree That Produces Chinese Rosewood
Genes 2020, 11(5), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11050478 - 28 Apr 2020
Abstract
Dalbergia odorifera, a critically endangered tree species, produces heartwood containing a vast variety of flavonoids. This heartwood, also known as Chinese rosewood, has high economic and medicinal value, but its formation takes several decades. In this study, we showed that discolored wood [...] Read more.
Dalbergia odorifera, a critically endangered tree species, produces heartwood containing a vast variety of flavonoids. This heartwood, also known as Chinese rosewood, has high economic and medicinal value, but its formation takes several decades. In this study, we showed that discolored wood induced by pruning displays similar color, structure, and flavonoids content to those of natural heartwood, suggesting that wounding is an efficient method for inducing flavonoid production in D. odorifera. Transcriptome analysis was performed to investigate the mechanism underlying wounding-induced flavonoids production in D. odorifera heartwood. Wounding upregulated the expression of 90 unigenes, which covered 19 gene families of the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid pathways, including PAL, C4H, 4CL, CHS, CHI, 6DCS, F3’5’H, F3H, FMO, GT, PMAT, CHOMT, IFS, HI4’OMT, HID, IOMT, I2’H, IFR, and I3’H. Furthermore, 47 upregulated unigenes were mapped to the biosynthesis pathways for five signal molecules (ET, JA, ABA, ROS, and SA). Exogenous application of these signal molecules resulted in the accumulation of flavonoids in cell suspensions of D. odorifera, supporting their role in wounding-induced flavonoid production. Insights from this study will help develop new methods for rapidly inducing the formation of heartwood with enhanced medicinal value. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals the Molecular Adaptation of Three Major Secondary Metabolic Pathways to Multiple Macronutrient Starvation in Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Genes 2020, 11(3), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030241 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) is a widely consumed beverage. Lack of macronutrients is a major cause of tea yield and quality losses. Though the effects of macronutrient starvation on tea metabolism have been studied, little is known about their molecular [...] Read more.
Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) is a widely consumed beverage. Lack of macronutrients is a major cause of tea yield and quality losses. Though the effects of macronutrient starvation on tea metabolism have been studied, little is known about their molecular mechanisms. Hence, we investigated changes in the gene expression of tea plants under nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K) deficient conditions by RNA-sequencing. A total of 9103 differentially expressed genes (DEG) were identified. Function enrichment analysis showed that many biological processes and pathways were common to N, P, and K starvation. In particular, cis-element analysis of promoter of genes uncovered that members of the WRKY, MYB, bHLH, NF-Y, NAC, Trihelix, and GATA families were more likely to regulate genes involved in catechins, l-theanine, and caffeine biosynthetic pathways. Our results provide a comprehensive insight into the mechanisms of responses to N, P, and K starvation, and a global basis for the improvement of tea quality and molecular breeding. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Low Temperature Promotes Anthocyanin Biosynthesis and Related Gene Expression in the Seedlings of Purple Head Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa L.)
Genes 2020, 11(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11010081 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
To elucidate the effect of low temperature on anthocyanin biosynthesis in purple head Chinese cabbage, we analyzed anthocyanin accumulation and related gene expression in the seedlings of purple head Chinese cabbage, white head parent Chinese cabbage, and its purple male parent under a [...] Read more.
To elucidate the effect of low temperature on anthocyanin biosynthesis in purple head Chinese cabbage, we analyzed anthocyanin accumulation and related gene expression in the seedlings of purple head Chinese cabbage, white head parent Chinese cabbage, and its purple male parent under a normal 25 °C temperature and a low 12 °C temperature. Anthocyanin accumulation in purple lines was strongly induced by low temperature, and the total anthocyanin content of seedlings was significantly enhanced. In addition, nearly all phenylpropanoid metabolic pathway genes (PMPGs) were down-regulated, some early biosynthesis genes (EBGs) were up-regulated, and nearly all late biosynthesis genes (LBGs) directly involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis showed higher expression levels in purple lines after low-temperature induction. Interestingly, a R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) gene ‘BrMYB2’ and a basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) regulatory gene ‘BrTT8’ were highly up-regulated in purple lines after low temperature induction, and two negative regulatory genes ‘BrMYBL2.1’ and ‘BrLBD38.2’ were up-regulated in the white line. BrMYB2 and BrTT8 may play important roles in co-activating the anthocyanin structural genes in purple head Chinese cabbage after low-temperature induction, whereas down-regulation of BrMYB2 and up-regulation of some negative regulators might be responsible for white head phenotype formation. Data presented here provide new understanding into the anthocyanin biosynthesis mechanism during low temperature exposure in Brassica crops. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
iTRAQ-Based Protein Profiling Provides Insights into the Mechanism of Light-Induced Anthocyanin Biosynthesis in Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium)
Genes 2019, 10(12), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10121024 - 09 Dec 2019
Abstract
The generation of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) flower color is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins. Light is one of the key environmental factors that affect the anthocyanin biosynthesis, but the deep molecular mechanism remains elusive. In our previous study, [...] Read more.
The generation of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) flower color is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins. Light is one of the key environmental factors that affect the anthocyanin biosynthesis, but the deep molecular mechanism remains elusive. In our previous study, a series of light-induced structural and regulatory genes involved in the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in the chrysanthemum were identified using RNA sequencing. In the present study, differentially expressed proteins that are in response to light with the capitulum development of the chrysanthemum ‘Purple Reagan’ were further identified using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) technique, and correlation between the proteomic and the transcriptomic libraries was analyzed. In general, 5106 raw proteins were assembled based on six proteomic libraries (three capitulum developmental stages × two light treatments). As many as 160 proteins were differentially expressed between the light and the dark libraries with 45 upregulated and 115 downregulated proteins in response to shading. Comparative analysis between the pathway enrichment and the gene expression patterns indicated that most of the proteins involved in the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway were downregulated after shading, which was consistent with the expression patterns of corresponding encoding genes; while five light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins were initially downregulated after shading, and their expressions were enhanced with the capitulum development thereafter. As revealed by correlation analysis between the proteomic and the transcriptomic libraries, GDSL esterase APG might also play an important role in light signal transduction. Finally, a putative mechanism of light-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis in the chrysanthemum was proposed. This study will help us to clearly identify light-induced proteins associated with flower color in the chrysanthemum and to enrich the complex mechanism of anthocyanin biosynthesis for use in cultivar breeding. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Ectopic Expression of Multiple Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) R2R3-MYB Transcription Factor Genes Regulates Anthocyanin Accumulation in Tobacco
Genes 2019, 10(10), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10100777 - 04 Oct 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The generation of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) flower color is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins. In the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in chrysanthemum, although all of the structural genes have been cloned, the regulatory function of R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) [...] Read more.
The generation of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum × morifolium) flower color is mainly attributed to the accumulation of anthocyanins. In the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in chrysanthemum, although all of the structural genes have been cloned, the regulatory function of R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) genes, which play a crucial role in determining anthocyanin accumulation in many ornamental crops, still remains unclear. In our previous study, four light-induced R2R3-MYB TF genes in chrysanthemum were identified using transcriptomic sequencing. In the present study, we further investigated the regulatory functions of these genes via phylogenetic and alignment analyses of amino acid sequences, which were subsequently verified by phenotypic, pigmental, and structural gene expression analyses in transgenic tobacco lines. As revealed by phylogenetic and alignment analyses, CmMYB4 and CmMYB5 were phenylpropanoid and flavonoid repressor R2R3-MYB genes, respectively, while CmMYB6 was an activator of anthocyanin biosynthesis, and CmMYB7 was involved in regulating flavonol biosynthesis. Compared with wild-type plants, the relative anthocyanin contents in the 35S:CmMYB4 and 35S:CmMYB5 tobacco lines significantly decreased (p < 0.05), while for 35S:CmMYB6 and 35S:CmMYB7, the opposite result was obtained. Both in the 35S:CmMYB4 and 35S:CmMYB5 lines, the relative expression of several anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in tobacco was significantly downregulated (p < 0.05); on the contrary, several genes were upregulated in the 35S:CmMYB6 and 35S:CmMYB7 lines. These results indicate that CmMYB4 and CmMYB5 negatively regulate anthocyanin biosynthesis in chrysanthemum, while CmMYB6 and CmMYB7 play a positive role, which will aid in understanding the complex mechanism regulating floral pigmentation in chrysanthemum and the functional divergence of the R2R3-MYB gene family in higher plants. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
The Biochemical and Genetic Basis for the Biosynthesis of Bioactive Compounds in Hypericum perforatum L., One of the Largest Medicinal Crops in Europe
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101210 - 16 Oct 2020
Abstract
Hypericum perforatum L. commonly known as Saint John’s Wort (SJW), is an important medicinal plant that has been used for more than 2000 years. Although H. perforatum produces several bioactive compounds, its importance is mainly linked to two molecules highly relevant for the [...] Read more.
Hypericum perforatum L. commonly known as Saint John’s Wort (SJW), is an important medicinal plant that has been used for more than 2000 years. Although H. perforatum produces several bioactive compounds, its importance is mainly linked to two molecules highly relevant for the pharmaceutical industry: the prenylated phloroglucinol hyperforin and the naphtodianthrone hypericin. The first functions as a natural antidepressant while the second is regarded as a powerful anticancer drug and as a useful compound for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. While the antidepressant activity of SJW extracts motivate a multi-billion dollar industry around the world, the scientific interest centers around the biosynthetic pathways of hyperforin and hypericin and their medical applications. Here, we focus on what is known about these processes and evaluate the possibilities of combining state of the art omics, genome editing, and synthetic biology to unlock applications that would be of great value for the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Carrot Anthocyanins Genetics and Genomics: Status and Perspectives to Improve Its Application for the Food Colorant Industry
Genes 2020, 11(8), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080906 - 07 Aug 2020
Abstract
Purple or black carrots (Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens Alef) are characterized by their dark purple- to black-colored roots, owing their appearance to high anthocyanin concentrations. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of black carrot anthocyanins [...] Read more.
Purple or black carrots (Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens Alef) are characterized by their dark purple- to black-colored roots, owing their appearance to high anthocyanin concentrations. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of black carrot anthocyanins as natural food dyes. Black carrot roots contain large quantities of mono-acylated anthocyanins, which impart a measure of heat-, light- and pH-stability, enhancing the color-stability of food products over their shelf-life. The genetic pathway controlling anthocyanin biosynthesis appears well conserved among land plants; however, different variants of anthocyanin-related genes between cultivars results in tissue-specific accumulations of purple pigments. Thus, broad genetic variations of anthocyanin profile, and tissue-specific distributions in carrot tissues and organs, can be observed, and the ratio of acylated to non-acylated anthocyanins varies significantly in the purple carrot germplasm. Additionally, anthocyanins synthesis can also be influenced by a wide range of external factors, such as abiotic stressors and/or chemical elicitors, directly affecting the anthocyanin yield and stability potential in food and beverage applications. In this study, we critically review and discuss the current knowledge on anthocyanin diversity, genetics and the molecular mechanisms controlling anthocyanin accumulation in carrots. We also provide a view of the current knowledge gaps and advancement needs as regards developing and applying innovative molecular tools to improve the yield, product performance and stability of carrot anthocyanin for use as a natural food colorant. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop