TitleTranscriptomic profiling of the medicinal plant Clitoria ternatea: identification of potential genes in cyclotide biosynthesis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKalmankar NV, Venkatesan R, Balaram P, Sowdhamini R
JournalSci Rep
Date Published2020 Jul 29

Clitoria ternatea a perennial climber of the Fabaceae family, is well known for its agricultural and medical applications. It is also currently the only known member of the Fabaceae family that produces abundant amounts of the ultra-stable macrocyclic peptides, cyclotides, across all tissues. Cyclotides are a class of gene-encoded, disulphide-rich, macrocyclic peptides (26-37 residues) acting as defensive metabolites in several plant species. Previous transcriptomic studies have demonstrated the genetic origin of cyclotides from the Fabaceae plant family to be embedded in the albumin-1 genes, unlike its counterparts in other plant families. However, the complete mechanism of its biosynthesis and the repertoire of enzymes involved in cyclotide folding and processing remains to be understood. In this study, using RNA-Seq data and de novo transcriptome assembly of Clitoria ternatea, we have identified 71 precursor genes of cyclotides. Out of 71 unique cyclotide precursor genes obtained, 51 sequences display unique cyclotide domains, of which 26 are novel cyclotide sequences, arising from four individual tissues. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis of fractions from different tissue extracts, coupled with precursor protein sequences obtained from transcriptomic data, established the cyclotide diversity in this plant species. Special focus in this study has also been on identifying possible enzymes responsible for proper folding and processing of cyclotides in the cell. Transcriptomic mining for oxidative folding enzymes such as protein-disulphide isomerases (PDI), ER oxidoreductin-1 (ERO1) and peptidylprolyl cis-trans isomerases (PPIases)/cyclophilins, and their levels of expression are also reported. In particular, it was observed that the CtPDI genes formed plant-specific clusters among PDI genes as compared to those from other plant species. Collectively, this work provides insights into the biogenesis of the medicinally important cyclotides and establishes the expression of certain key enzymes participating in peptide biosynthesis. Also, several novel cyclotide sequences are reported and precursor sequences are analysed in detail. In the absence of a published reference genome, a comprehensive transcriptomics approach was adopted to provide an overview of diverse properties and constituents of C. ternatea.

Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID32728092
PubMed Central IDPMC7391643
Grant ListEarly Career Award, Ramanujan Fellowship / / Department of Science and Technology India /
DST-Max Planck Partner group program / / Max Planck Society /
NER grant / / Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India /
DST-YOS Chair Professorship / / Science and Engineering Research Board /
SB/S2/JC-071/2015 / / Science and Engineering Research Board, JC Bose fellowship /