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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01687

AtPAP1 interacts with and activates SmbHLH51, a positive regulator to phenolic acids biosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza

Yucui Wu1, 2, Yuan Zhang1, Lin Li1, Xiaorong Guo1, Bin Wang3,  Xiaoyan Cao1* and  Zhezhi Wang1*
  • 1Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Medicinal Resources and Natural Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Shaanxi Normal University, China
  • 2School of Landscape and Ecological Engineering, Hebei University of Engineering, China
  • 3College of Chemistry, Biology and Materials Science, East China University of Technology, China

Phenolic acids from Salvia miltiorrhiza have drawn considerable attention in recent years because of their remarkable pharmacological activities. We previously reported that Arabidopsis thaliana transcription factor production of anthocyanin pigment 1 (AtPAP1) has strong capability to promote the production of phenolic acids in S. miltiorrhiza. However, the responsible molecular mechanism is unclear. Here, we analyzed the transcriptome of transgenic S. miltiorrhiza that over-expressed AtPAP1. Transcriptome analysis revealed 4152 genes that were differentially expressed due to ectopic AtPAP1 overexpression. SmbHLH51, a novel bHLH gene significantly up-regulated by constitutive expression of AtPAP1, was isolated from S. miltiorrhiza for detailed functional characterization. SmbHLH51 localizes in the nuclei and interacts with AtPAP1, indicating that they probably comprise a regulatory transcription complex. Enhanced or reduced expression of SmbHLH51 was achieved in S. miltiorrhiza by gain- or loss-of-function assays, respectively, revealing that SmbHLH51 is a positive transcriptional regulator of the pathway for phenolic acid biosynthesis. We propose that applying this functional genomics approach through the transcriptomic analyses is an efficient means for identifying novel genes involved in plant secondary metabolism.

Keywords: AtPAP1, phenolic acids, Salvia miltiorrhiza, SmbHLH51, salvianolic acid B

Received: 22 Jul 2018; Accepted: 30 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Agnieszka Ludwików, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

Reviewed by:

Toshihiro Obata, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States
Agnieszka Kiełbowicz-Matuk, Institute of Plant Genetics (PAN), Poland  

Copyright: © 2018 Wu, Zhang, Li, Guo, Wang, Cao and Wang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Xiaoyan Cao, Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Medicinal Resources and Natural Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China, caoxiaoyan@snnu.edu.cn
Dr. Zhezhi Wang, Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Medicinal Resources and Natural Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, China, zzwang@snnu.edu.cn