National Research Council of Canada. Aquatic and Crop Resource Development
Macrosclereid cells, which are a layer in the seed coat of Medicago truncatula, accumulate large amounts of phytochemicals during their development. But little is known about the complex and dynamic changes during macrosclereid cell development. To characterize the phytochemicals and the related gene expression during the development of M. truncatula macrosclereid cells, a high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) assay and microarray study were conducted on transcriptome changes from macrosclereid cell during seed development. A total of 16 flavonoids by HPLC-MS and 4861 genes exhibited significant differences at transcript levels by microarray analysis were identified for macrosclerid cells at six different time points during seed development. 815 abiotic and biotic stress genes, 223 transcriptional factors (TFs), and 155 annotated transporter proteins exhibited differential expression during the development of macrosclereid cells. A total of 102 genes were identified as involved in flavonoid biosynthesis, phenypropanoid biosynthesis, and flavone and flavonol biosynthesis. We performed a weighted gene co-regulatory network (WGCNA) to analyze the gene-flavonoid association and rebuilt the gene regulatory network during macrosclereid cell development. Our studies revealed that macrosclereid cells are, beside as the first barrier of defense against diseases, an excellent model system to investigate the regulatory network that governs flavonoid biosynthesis.