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Article|01 May 2021|OPEN
Integrated proteomic and metabolomic analyses reveal the importance of aroma precursor accumulation and storage in methyl jasmonate-primed tea leaves
Jiang Shi1, Jiatong Wang1,2, Haipeng Lv1, Qunhua Peng1, Monika Schreiner3, Susanne Baldermann4,3, & Zhi Lin1,
1Key Laboratory of Tea Biology and Resource Utilization of Ministry of Agriculture, Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 9 South Meiling Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310008, PR China
2Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 12 South Street of Zhongguancun, Beijing 100081, PR China
3Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Theodor-Echtermeyer-Weg 1, 14979 Großbeeren, Germany
4University of Bayreuth, Food Metabolome, Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition, Kulmbach, Germany

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 95 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.95
Views: 226

Received: 09 Nov 2020
Revised: 28 Feb 2021
Accepted: 01 Mar 2021
Published online: 01 May 2021


In response to preharvest priming with exogenous methyl jasmonate (MeJA), tea plants adjust their physiological behavior at the molecular level. The whole-organism reconfiguration of aroma formation from the precursor to storage is poorly understood. In this study, we performed iTRAQ proteomic analysis and identified 337, 246, and 413 differentially expressed proteins in tea leaves primed with MeJA for 12 h, 24 h, and 48 h, respectively. Furthermore, a total of 266 nonvolatile and 100 volatile differential metabolites were identified by utilizing MS-based metabolomics. A novel approach that incorporated the integration of extended self-organizing map-based dimensionality was applied. The vivid time-scale changes tracing physiological responses in MeJA-primed tea leaves are marked in these maps. Jasmonates responded quickly to the activation of the jasmonic acid pathway in tea leaves, while hydroxyl and glycosyl jasmonates were biosynthesized simultaneously on a massive scale to compensate for the exhausted defense. The levels of α-linolenic acid, geranyl diphosphate, farnesyl diphosphate, geranylgeranyl diphosphate, and phenylalanine, which are crucial aroma precursors, were found to be significantly changed in MeJA-primed tea leaves. Green leaf volatiles, volatile terpenoids, and volatile phenylpropanoids/benzenoids were spontaneously biosynthesized from responding precursors and subsequently converted to their corresponding glycosidic forms, which can be stably stored in tea leaves. This study elucidated the physiological response of tea leaves primed with exogenous methyl jasmonate and revealed the molecular basis of source and sink changes on tea aroma biosynthesis and catabolism in response to exogenous stimuli. The results significantly enhance our comprehensive understanding of tea plant responses to exogenous treatment and will lead to the development of promising biotechnologies to improve fresh tea leaf quality.