Saponarin content and biosynthesis-related gene expression in young barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seedlings
Flavonoids are widely distributed secondary metabolites in plants that have a variety biological functions, as well as beneficial biological and pharmacological activities. In barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), for example, high levels of saponarin accumulate during primary leaf development. How-ever, the effect of saponarin biosynthetic pathway genes on the accumulation of saponarin in barley is poorly understood. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to examine the saponarin contents and expression levels of saponarin bio-synthetic pathway genes [chalcone synthase (CHS), chalcone isomerase (CHI), and UDP-Glc:isovitexin 7-O-glucosyltrans-ferase (OGT)] during early seedling developmental and under several abiotic stress conditions. Interestingly, the upregulation of HvCHS, HvCHI, and HvOGT during early development was associated with saponarin accumulation during later stages. In addition, exposure to abiotic stress conditions (e.g., light/dark transition, drought, and low or high temperature) significantly affected the expression of HvCHS and HvCHI but failed to affect either HvOGT expression or saponarin accumulation. These findings suggested that the expression of HvOGT, which encodes an enzyme that catalyzes the final step of saponarin biosynthesis, is required for saponarin accumulation. Taken together, the results of the present study provide a basis for metabolic engineering in barley plants, especially in regards to enhancing the contents of useful secondary metabolites, such as saponarin.
Materials and Methods
Results and Discussion