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Article|01 Feb 2021|OPEN
Insights into triterpene synthesis and unsaturated fatty-acid accumulation provided by chromosomal-level genome analysis of Akebia trifoliata subsp. australis
Hui Huang1,2, Juan Liang1, Qi Tan1, Linfeng Ou1, Xiaolin Li3, Caihong Zhong1, Huilin Huang1, Ian Max Møller4, Xianjin Wu1 & Songquan Song1,5,
1Key Laboratory of Research and Utilization of Ethnomedicinal Plant Resources of Hunan Province, College of Biological and Food Engineering, Huaihua University, Huaihua 418000, China
2Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
3State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Dao-di Herbs, National Resource Center for Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Science, Beijing 100700, China
4Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Flakkebjerg, DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark
5Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 33 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.33
Views: 347

Received: 15 Apr 2020
Revised: 16 Nov 2020
Accepted: 20 Nov 2020
Published online: 01 Feb 2021


Akebia trifoliata subsp. australis is a well-known medicinal and potential woody oil plant in China. The limited genetic information available for A. trifoliata subsp. australis has hindered its exploitation. Here, a high-quality chromosome-level genome sequence of A. trifoliata subsp. australis is reported. The de novo genome assembly of 682.14 Mb was generated with a scaffold N50 of 43.11 Mb. The genome includes 25,598 protein-coding genes, and 71.18% (485.55 Mb) of the assembled sequences were identified as repetitive sequences. An ongoing massive burst of long terminal repeat (LTR) insertions, which occurred ~1.0 million years ago, has contributed a large proportion of LTRs in the genome of A. trifoliata subsp. australis. Phylogenetic analysis shows that A. trifoliata subsp. australis is closely related to Aquilegia coerulea and forms a clade with Papaver somniferum and Nelumbo nucifera, which supports the well-established hypothesis of a close relationship between basal eudicot species. The expansion of UDP-glucoronosyl and UDP-glucosyl transferase gene families and β-amyrin synthase-like genes and the exclusive contraction of terpene synthase gene families may be responsible for the abundant oleanane-type triterpenoids in A. trifoliata subsp. australis. Furthermore, the acyl-ACP desaturase gene family, including 12 stearoyl-acyl-carrier protein desaturase (SAD) genes, has expanded exclusively. A combined transcriptome and fatty-acid analysis of seeds at five developmental stages revealed that homologs of SADs, acyl-lipid desaturase omega fatty acid desaturases (FADs), and oleosins were highly expressed, consistent with the rapid increase in the content of fatty acids, especially unsaturated fatty acids. The genomic sequences of A. trifoliata subsp. australis will be a valuable resource for comparative genomic analyses and molecular breeding.