Meyer, Rachel , Whitaker, Bruce , Litt, Amy .
Modifications to the phenolic biosynthesis pathway correlated with domestication in eggplant.
Phenolic compounds in fruits and vegetables are well known for having flavorful and health-beneficial properties. Eggplant (S. melongena L) contains a wide array of phenolic compounds. In previous analyses, we identified phenolics that differed in their presence/absence or relative amount among fruits of eggplant and related species. Several compounds differed significantly between S. melongena and the wild progenitor of eggplant (Asian S. incanum/S. undatum), and also differed among these and other wild relatives. This study aimed to elucidate how human selection may have modified the complex phenolic biosynthetic pathway to produce different amounts of specific end-products. Fruits from thirty accessions, including Asian eggplant landraces, and representatives of the wild progenitor and wild relatives, were analyzed to determine the relative expression of seven biosynthetic genes in the phenolic pathway using quantitative Real-Time PCR. These data were evaluated for correlations with phenolic profiles generated by high performance liquid chromatography from the same thirty fruits. Key results were the identification of three genes that are coexpressed and whose transcript levels are tightly correlated to the total production of a subset of phenolic compounds, the hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. This particular group of compounds is of interest because assays have shown that their therapeutic functions align with specific Asian medicinal applications of eggplant. Additionally, several genes were differentially expressed in different species. These results suggest that gene expression may have been altered as a result of selection for certain medicinal or culinary qualities of eggplant. Results are discussed in the context of early and contemporary uses of eggplant fruits.
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1 - The New York Botanical Garden, 200th St and Southern Blvd, Bronx, New York, 10458, USA
2 - United States Department of Agriculture, Food Quality Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Bldg 0002, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Lindell B/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 2:30 PM