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Article|31 May 2023|OPEN
Unveiling the spatial distribution and molecular mechanisms of terpenoid biosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza and S. grandifolia using multi-omics and DESI–MSI
Jie Xia1 ,† , Ganggui Lou1 ,† , Lan Zhang1 , Yanbo Huang2 , Jian Yang3 , Juan Guo3 , Zhechen Qi1 , Zhenhao Li4 , Guoliang Zhang4 , Shengchun Xu5 , Xijiao Song5 , Xiaodan Zhang1 , , Yukun Wei6 , , Zongsuo Liang1 , and Dongfeng Yang,1 ,
1College of Life Sciences and Medicine, Key Laboratory of Plant Secondary Metabolism and Regulation of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, 310000, Hangzhou, China
2Eastern China Conservation Centre for Wild Endangered Plant Resources, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, 200000, Shanghai, China
3State Key Lab Breeding Base Dao-Di Herbs, National Resource Center Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, 100000, Beijing, China
4Zhejiang Shouxiangu Botanical Drug Institute Co., Ltd, 310000, Hangzhou, China
5State Key Laboratory for Managing Biotic and Chemical Threats to the Quality and Safety of Agro-products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 310000, Hangzhou, China
6Shanghai Botanical Garden, Shanghai, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,,,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad109 (2023)
Views: 188

Received: 19 Dec 2022
Accepted: 12 May 2023
Published online: 31 May 2023


Salvia miltiorrhiza and S. grandifolia are rich in diterpenoids and have therapeutic effects on cardiovascular diseases. In this study, the spatial distribution of diterpenoids in both species was analyzed by a combination of metabolomics and mass spectrometry imaging techniques. The results indicated that diterpenoids in S. miltiorrhiza were mainly abietane-type norditerpenoid quinones with a furan or dihydrofuran D-ring and were mainly distributed in the periderm of the roots, e.g. cryptotanshinone and tanshinone IIA. The compounds in S. grandifolia were mainly phenolic abietane-type tricyclic diterpenoids with six- or seven-membered C-rings, and were widely distributed in the periderm, phloem, and xylem of the roots, e.g. 11-hydroxy-sugiol, 11,20-dihydroxy-sugiol, and 11,20-dihydroxy-ferruginol. In addition, the leaves of S. grandifolia were rich in tanshinone biosynthesis precursors, such as 11-hydroxy-sugiol, while those of S. miltiorrhiza were rich in phenolic acids. Genes in the upstream pathway of tanshinone biosynthesis were highly expressed in the root of S. grandifolia, and genes in the downstream pathway were highly expressed in the root of S. miltiorrhiza. Here, we describe the specific tissue distributions and mechanisms of diterpenoids in two Salvia species, which will facilitate further investigations of the biosynthesis of diterpenoids in plant synthetic biology.