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Article|04 May 2023|OPEN
CsXDH1 gene promotes caffeine catabolism induced by continuous strong light in tea plant
Qianhui Tang1,2,3,4 , Keyi Liu1,2,3,4 , Chuan Yue1,2,3,4 , Liyong Luo1,2,3,4 , Liang Zeng1,2,3,4 , , Zhijun Wu,1,2,3,4 ,
1College of Food Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
2Chongqing Key Laboratory of Speciality Food Co-Built by Sichuan and Chongqing, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
3Integrative Science Center of Germplasm Creation, Southwest University, Chongqing 401329, China
4Tea Research Institute, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad090 (2023)
Views: 148

Received: 08 Dec 2022
Accepted: 01 May 2023
Published online: 04 May 2023


Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is an important cash crop with extensive adaptability in the world. However, complex environmental factors force a large variation of tea quality-related components. Caffeine is essential for the formation of bitter and fresh flavors in tea, and is the main compound of tea that improves human alertness. Continuous strong light stimulation was observed to cause caffeine reduction in tea leaves, but the mechanism is not clear. In this study, the response of tea plant to light intensity was analysed mainly by multi-omics association, antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (asODN) silencing technique, and in vitro enzyme activity assay. The results revealed multiple strategies for light intensity adaptation in tea plant, among which the regulation of chloroplasts, photosynthesis, porphyrin metabolism, and resistance to oxidative stress were prominent. Caffeine catabolism was enhanced in continuous strong light, which may be a light-adapted strategy due to strict regulation by xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH). asODN silencing and enzymatic activity assays confirmed that CsXDH1 is a protein induced by light intensity to catalyze the substrate xanthine. CsXDH1 asODN silencing resulted in significant up-regulation of both caffeine and theobromine in in vitro enzyme activity assay, but not in vivo. CsXDH1 may act as a coordinator in light intensity adaptation, thus disrupting this balance of caffeine catabolism.