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Article|13 Apr 2023|OPEN
Chromosome-level genome assembly of Salvia miltiorrhiza with orange roots uncovers the role of Sm2OGD3 in catalyzing 15,16-dehydrogenation of tanshinones
Xian Pan1,2 , Yujie Chang1,2 , Caili Li1,2 , Xiaoxiao Qiu1,2 and Xinyun Cui1,2 , Fanqi Meng1,2 , Sixuan Zhang1,2 , Xian’en Li1,2 , Shanfa Lu,1,2 ,
1Key Lab of Chinese Medicine Resources Conservation, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’ s Republic of China, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
2Engineering Research Center of Chinese Medicine Resource, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100193, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad069 (2023)
Views: 156

Received: 16 Oct 2022
Accepted: 07 Apr 2023
Published online: 13 Apr 2023


Salvia miltiorrhiza is well known for its clinical practice in treating heart and cardiovascular diseases. Its roots, used for traditional Chinese medicine materials, are usually brick-red due to accumulation of red pigments, such as tanshinone IIA and tanshinone I. Here we report a S. miltiorrhiza line (shh) with orange roots. Compared with the red roots of normal S. miltiorrhiza plants, the contents of tanshinones with a single bond at C-15,16 were increased, whereas those with a double bond at C-15,16 were significantly decreased in shh. We assembled a high-quality chromosome-level genome of shh. Phylogenomic analysis showed that the relationship between two S. miltiorrhiza lines with red roots was closer than the relationship with shh. It indicates that shh could not be the mutant of an extant S. miltiorrhiza line with red roots. Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses showed that a 1.0 kb DNA fragment was deleted in shh Sm2OGD3m. Complementation assay showed that overexpression of intact Sm2OGD3 in shh hairy roots recovered furan D-ring tanshinone accumulation. Consistently, in vitro protein assay showed that Sm2OGD3 catalyzed the conversion of cyptotanshinone, 15,16-dihydrotanshinone I and 1,2,15,16-tetrahydrotanshinone I into tanshinone IIA, tanshinone I and 1,2-dihydrotanshinone I, respectively. Thus, Sm2OGD3 functions as tanshinone 15,16-dehydrogenase and is a key enzyme in tanshinone biosynthesis. The results provide novel insights into the metabolic network of medicinally important tanshinone compounds.