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Article

Metabolomic and Gene Expression Studies Reveal the Diversity, Distribution and Spatial Regulation of the Specialized Metabolism of Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae)

1
AsterBioChem Research Team, Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Av do café s/n, 14040-903 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2
Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kew Green Road, London TW9 3AB, UK
3
Department of Biochemistry of Plant Secondary Metabolism, Institute of Biology, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstraße 30, 70599 Stuttgart, BW, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(12), 4555; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21124555
Received: 7 June 2020 / Revised: 23 June 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 26 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Plant Sciences)
Smallanthus sonchifolius, also known as yacón, is an Andean crop species commercialized for its nutraceutical and medicinal properties. The tuberous roots of yacón accumulate a diverse array of probiotic and bioactive metabolites including fructooligosaccharides and caffeic acid esters. However, the metabolic diversity of yacón remains unexplored, including the site of biosynthesis and accumulation of key metabolite classes. We report herein a multidisciplinary approach involving metabolomics, gene expression and scanning electron microscopy, to provide a comprehensive analysis of the diversity, distribution and spatial regulation of the specialized metabolism in yacón. Our results demonstrate that different metabolic fingerprints and gene expression patterns characterize specific tissues, organs and cultivars of yacón. Manual inspection of mass spectrometry data and molecular networking allowed the tentative identification of 71 metabolites, including undescribed structural analogues of known bioactive compounds. Imaging by scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of a new type of glandular trichome in yacón bracts, with a distinctive metabolite profile. Furthermore, the high concentration of sesquiterpene lactones in capitate glandular trichomes and the restricted presence of certain flavonoids and caffeic acid esters in underground organs and internal tissues suggests that these metabolites could be involved in protective and ecological functions. This study demonstrates that individual organs and tissues make specific contributions to the highly diverse and specialized metabolome of yacón, which is proving to be a reservoir of previously undescribed molecules of potential significance in human health. View Full-Text
Keywords: Smallanthus sonchifolius; Asteraceae; LC-MS/MS; metabolomics; gene expression; chalcone synthase; germacrene A oxidase Smallanthus sonchifolius; Asteraceae; LC-MS/MS; metabolomics; gene expression; chalcone synthase; germacrene A oxidase
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MDPI and ACS Style

Padilla-González, G.F.; Amrehn, E.; Frey, M.; Gómez-Zeledón, J.; Kaa, A.; Da Costa, F.B.; Spring, O. Metabolomic and Gene Expression Studies Reveal the Diversity, Distribution and Spatial Regulation of the Specialized Metabolism of Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae). Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 4555. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21124555

AMA Style

Padilla-González GF, Amrehn E, Frey M, Gómez-Zeledón J, Kaa A, Da Costa FB, Spring O. Metabolomic and Gene Expression Studies Reveal the Diversity, Distribution and Spatial Regulation of the Specialized Metabolism of Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae). International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(12):4555. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21124555

Chicago/Turabian Style

Padilla-González, Guillermo F., Evelyn Amrehn, Maximilian Frey, Javier Gómez-Zeledón, Alevtina Kaa, Fernando B. Da Costa, and Otmar Spring. 2020. "Metabolomic and Gene Expression Studies Reveal the Diversity, Distribution and Spatial Regulation of the Specialized Metabolism of Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, Asteraceae)" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, no. 12: 4555. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21124555

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