Several members of the genus Lavandula produce valuable essential oils (EOs) that are primarily constituted of the low molecular weight isoprenoids, particularly monoterpenes. We isolated over 8,000 ESTs from the glandular trichomes of L. x intermedia flowers (where bulk of the EO is synthesized) to facilitate the discovery of genes that control the biosynthesis of EO constituents. The expression profile of these ESTs in L. x intermedia and its parents L. angustifolia and L. latifolia was established using microarrays. The resulting data highlighted a differentially expressed, previously uncharacterized cDNA with strong homology to known 1,8-cineole synthase (CINS) genes. The ORF, excluding the transit peptide, of this cDNA was expressed in E. coli, purified by Ni–NTA agarose affinity chromatography and functionally characterized in vitro. The ca. 63 kDa bacterially produced recombinant protein, designated L. x intermedia CINS (LiCINS), converted geranyl diphosphate (the linear monoterpene precursor) primarily to 1,8-cineole with K m and k cat values of 5.75 μM and 8.8 × 10−3 s−1, respectively. The genomic DNA of CINS in the studied Lavandula species had identical exon–intron architecture and coding sequences, except for a single polymorphic nucleotide in the L. angustifolia ortholog which did not alter protein function. Additional nucleotide variations restricted to L. angustifolia introns were also observed, suggesting that LiCINS was most likely inherited from L. latifolia. The LiCINS mRNA levels paralleled the 1,8-cineole content in mature flowers of the three lavender species, and in developmental stages of L. x intermedia inflorescence indicating that the production of 1,8 cineole in Lavandula is most likely controlled through transcriptional regulation of LiCINS.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2012
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