Transcriptome analysis of Cynara cardunculus in southern Portugal

A. Paulino, R.C. Pires, I. Fernandes, J. Santos, T. Brás, D. Rosa, O.S. Paulo, M.F. Duarte, L. Marum
Cynara cardunculus is a perennial plant well-adapted to Mediterranean climatic conditions. As a multipurpose crop, it represents a natural source of sesquiterpene lactones, namely cynaropicrin. Portugal has a tremendous natural variability of C. cardunculus at a morphological, biochemical and genetic level. An in-depth genetic characterization of Portuguese populations will be needed for further plant selection/breeding within certain desired production traits. To improve the biotechnological C. cardunculus impact, transcriptomic analysis was carried out based on the cynaropicrin profile to select the best genotypes for cynaropicrin production. For transcriptome analysis, total RNA was successfully extracted from leaves of the seven identified C. cardunculus genotypes (with different cynaropicrin levels) in March and May. RNA sequencing of C. cardunculus generated an average of 23.5 million raw reads, and a high proportion of uniquely reads was aligned to the reference genome of C. cardunculus. PCA showed a grouping of samples according to the month of collection, with a visible difference between May and March. Differential expression analysis generated a total of 3654 DEGs (about 55% downregulated). This study will reveal new insights into the transcriptional regulation of cynaropicrin biosynthesis in cardoon.
Paulino, A., Pires, R.C., Fernandes, I., Santos, J., Brás, T., Rosa, D., Paulo, O.S., Duarte, M.F. and Marum, L. (2023). Transcriptome analysis of Cynara cardunculus in southern Portugal. Acta Hortic. 1362, 351-358
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1362.47
cardoon, cynaropicrin, RNA, quality analysis, DEGs, gene ontology

Acta Horticulturae