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Article|01 May 2021|OPEN
CsTCPs regulate shoot tip development and catechin biosynthesis in tea plant (Camellia sinensis)
Shuwei Yu1, Penghui Li1, Xuecheng Zhao1, Mangmang Tan1, Muhammad Zulfiqar Ahmad1, Yujie Xu1, Million Tadege2 & Jian Zhao1,
1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
2Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Institute for Agricultural Biosciences, Oklahoma State University, 3210 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 104 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.104
Views: 205

Received: 11 Oct 2020
Revised: 01 Jan 2021
Accepted: 24 Feb 2021
Published online: 01 May 2021


The growth of leaves and biosynthesis of characteristic secondary metabolites are critically important for tea production and quality control. However, little is known about the coordinated regulation of leaf development and catechin biosynthesis in tea plants. Here, we reported that TCP TFs are involved in both catechin biosynthesis and leaf development. An integrated analysis of catechin profiling and CsTCP expression in different tissues of plants under various environmental conditions at different developmental stages indicated significant correlations between the transcript levels of CIN-type TCPs and catechin production. CIN-type CsTCP3 and CsTCP4 and PCF-type CsTCP14 interacted with the MYB-bHLH-WD40 repeat (MBW) complex by forming a CsTCP3-CsTT8 heterodimer and modulating the transactivation activity of the promoters of anthocyanin synthase (CsANS1) and anthocyanidin reductase (CsANR1). Four types of microRNA/target modules, miR319b/CsTCP3-4, miR164b/CsCUC, miR396/CsGRF-GIF, and miR165b/HD-ZIPIII ones, were also identified and characterized for their functions in the regulation of the development of tea plant shoot tips and leaf shape. The results of these modules were reflected by their different expression patterns in developing buds and leaves that had distinctly different morphologies in three different tea plant varieties. Their roles in the regulation of catechin biosynthesis were also further verified by manipulation of microRNA319b (miR319b), which targets the transcripts of CsTCP3 and CsTCP4. Thus, CsTCPs represent at least one of these important groups of TFs that can integrate tea plant leaf development together with secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Our study provides new insight into shoot tip development and catechin production in tea plants and lays a foundation for further mechanistic understanding of the regulation of tea plant leaf development and secondary metabolism.