Integrated analysis of metabolome, transcriptome, and bioclimatic factors of Acer truncatum seeds reveals key candidate genes related to unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis, and potentially optimal production area

作  者:Li Y, Kong F, Wu SW, Song WJ, Shao Y, Kang M, Chen TT, Peng LP*, Shu QY*
刊物名称:BMC Plant Biology
卷:24  期:1  页码:284



Lipids found in plant seeds are essential for controlling seed dormancy, dispersal, and defenses against biotic and abiotic stress. Additionally, these lipids provide nutrition and energy and are therefore important to the human diet as edible oils. Acer truncatum, which belongs to the Aceaceae family, is widely cultivated around the world for its ornamental value. Further because its seed oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs)- i.e. α-linolenic acid (ALA) and nervonic acid (NA)- and because it has been validated as a new food resource in China, the importance of A. truncatum has greatly risen. However, it remains unknown how UFAs are biosynthesized during the growth season, to what extent environmental factors impact their content, and what areas are potentially optimal for their production.


In this study, transcriptome and metabolome of A. truncatum seeds at three representative developmental stages was used to find the accumulation patterns of all major FAs. Cumulatively, 966 metabolites and 87,343 unigenes were detected; the differential expressed unigenes and metabolites were compared between stages as follows: stage 1 vs. 2, stage 1 vs. 3, and stage 2 vs. 3 seeds, respectively. Moreover, 13 fatty acid desaturases (FADs) and 20 β-ketoacyl-CoA synthases (KCSs) were identified, among which the expression level of FAD3 (Cluster-7222.41455) and KCS20 (Cluster-7222.40643) were consistent with the metabolic results of ALA and NA, respectively. Upon analysis of the geographical origin-affected diversity from 17 various locations, we found significant variation in phenotypes and UFA content. Notably, in this study we found that 7 bioclimatic variables showed considerable influence on FAs contents in A. truncatum seeds oil, suggesting their significance as critical environmental parameters. Ultimately, we developed a model for potentially ecological suitable regions in China.


This study provides a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between metabolome and transcriptome in A. truncatum at various developmental stages of seeds and a new strategy to enhance seed FA content, especially ALA and NA. This is particularly significant in meeting the increasing demands for high-quality edible oil for human consumption. The study offers a scientific basis for A. truncatum’s novel utilization as a woody vegetable oil rather than an ornamental plant, potentially expanding its cultivation worldwide.