Deep Sequencing of the Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi Transcriptome Reveals Flavonoid Biosynthetic Profiling and Organ-Specific Gene Expression
Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi has long been used in traditional medicine to treat various such widely varying diseases and has been listed in the Chinese Pharmacopeia, the Japanese Pharmacopeia, the Korean Pharmacopoeia and the European Pharmacopoeia. Flavonoids, especially wogonin, wogonoside, baicalin, and baicalein, are its main functional ingredients with various pharmacological activities. Although pharmaological studies for these flavonoid components have been well conducted, the molecular mechanism of their biosynthesis remains unclear in S. baicalensis. In this study, Illumina/Solexa deep sequencing generated more than 91 million paired-end reads and 49,507 unigenes from S. baicalensis roots, stems, leaves and flowers. More than 70% unigenes were annotated in at least one of the five public databases and 13,627 unigenes were assigned to 3,810 KEGG genes involved in 579 different pathways. 54 unigenes that encode 12 key enzymes involved in the pathway of flavonoid biosynthesis were discovered. One baicalinase and three baicalein 7-O-glucuronosyltransferases genes potentially involved in the transformation between baicalin/wogonoside and baicalein/wogonin were identified. Four candidate 6-hydroxylase genes for the formation of baicalin/baicalein and one candidate 8-O-methyltransferase gene for the biosynthesis of wogonoside/wogonin were also recognized. Our results further support the conclusion that, in S. baicalensis, 3,5,7-trihydroxyflavone was the precursor of the four above compounds. Then, the differential expression models and simple sequence repeats associated with these genes were carefully analyzed. All of these results not only enrich the gene resource but also benefit research into the molecular genetics and functional genomics in S. baicalensis.