Browse Articles

Article|01 Oct 2018|OPEN
Transcriptomic analyses identify albino-associated genes of a novel albino tea germplasm ‘Huabai 1’
Qingping Ma1, Huan Li1, Zhongwei Zou2, Emmanuel Arkorful1, Qianru Lv1, Qiongqiong Zhou1, Xuan Chen1, Kang Sun1 & Xinghui Li1,
1College of Horticulture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Weigang No.1, 210095 Nanjing, China
2Department of Plant Science, University of Manitoba, 222 Agriculture Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada

Horticulture Research 5,
Article number: 54 (2018)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2018.54
Views: 602

Received: 08 Jan 2018
Revised: 05 May 2018
Accepted: 21 May 2018
Published online: 01 Oct 2018


Albinism in shoots of tea plants is a common phenotypic expression which gives the tea infusion a pleasant umami taste. A novel natural albino mutant tea germplasm containing high amino acids content was found and named as ‘Huabai 1’. ‘Huabai 1’ has white jade tender shoots under low temperature and turns green with increased temperature. In order to understand the molecular mechanism of color change in leaf of ‘Huabai 1’, transcriptome analysis was performed to identify albino-associated differentially expressed genes (DEGs). A total of 483 DEGs were identified from white shoots of ‘Huabai 1’ compared to its green shoots. There were 15 DEGs identified to be involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, which account for the majority of characterized DEGs. The metabolites related to phenylpropanoid biosynthesis revealed similar expression pattern of DEGs. Furthermore, metabolic pathways such as ubiquonone, tyrosine, and flavonoid biosynthesis associated with phenylpropanoid biosynthesis could also contribute to the color change in ‘Huabai 1’ tender shoots. Protein–protein interaction analysis revealed a hub protein NEDD8 (CSA009575) which interacted with many regulated genes in spliceosome, nitrogen metabolism, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, and other pathways. In conclusion, the findings in this study indicate that the color change of ‘Huabai 1’ tender shoots is a combined effect of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis pathway and other metabolic pathways including flavonoid biosynthesis in tea plants. Chlorophyll biosynthesis-related genes LHCII and SGR may also play some roles in color change of ‘Huabai 1’.