Gene and metabolite profiling reveals flowering and survival strategies in Himalayan Rhododendron arboreum. Choudhary, S., Thakur, S., Jaitak, V., & Bhardwaj, P. Gene, 690:1-10, 2019.
Gene and metabolite profiling reveals flowering and survival strategies in Himalayan Rhododendron arboreum [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
Rhododendron arboreum inhabits the Himalayan climate otherwise detrimental to many species, though the underlying survival mechanism remains unclear. Such temperate species have an inherent endurance towards freezing temperature which is prerequisite for an initiation and transition to flowering phase. Orchestrating the molecular architecture is vital towards managing distinct abiotic signals. To determine the molecular factors directing growth, development, and tolerance under environmental extremes in the species, the high-throughput transcriptome and metabolome data from vegetative as well as cold-acclimatized flowering season tissues were generated. Firstly, the de novo assembly pertaining to the foliar and floral tissues comprising of 157,427 unigenes was examined for a comparative analysis. 4149 of 12,577 transcripts observed with a significant fluctuating expression corresponded to seasonal retorts. Following the interactive network, 525 genes were distinguished as the epicenters of sense, response, and tolerance. Secondly, liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was adopted to profile the extent of metabolite richness across the tissues of two seasons. Taking into account the formula-based mappings offered by MetaboSearch tool, 421 unique ions obtained were annotated to 173 KEGG compounds, especially secondary metabolites. Moreover, by integrating the transcript and metabolite annotations, it was found that right from active metabolism, signaling, development, and their regulations, supplementary response to abiotic/biotic stimuli was induced. A multifaceted response displayed during flowering not only sponsored the climatic encounters but brought the shift from vegetative to reproductive growth. Overall, this comprehensive approach following transcriptome and non-targeted metabolome elucidated the contribution of genetic and metabolic factors in environmental responses.

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