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Article|12 Sep 2023|OPEN
A geraniol synthase regulates plant defense via alternative splicing in tea plants
Hao Jiang1 ,† , Mengting Zhang1 ,† , Feng Yu1 ,† , Xuehui Li1 , Jieyang Jin1 , Youjia Zhou1 , Qiang Wang1 , Tingting Jing1 , Xiaochun Wan1 , Wilfried Schwab1 , and Chuankui Song,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biolog and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, 130 West Changjiang Road, Hefei 230036, China
2Biotechnology of Natural Products, Technische Universität München, Liesel-Beckmann-Str. 1, 85354 Freising, Germany
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Hao Jiang,Mengting Zhang and Feng Yu contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad184 (2023)
Views: 54

Received: 17 May 2023
Accepted: 03 Sep 2023
Published online: 12 Sep 2023


Geraniol is an important contributor to the pleasant floral scent of tea products and one of the most abundant aroma compounds in tea plants; however, its biosynthesis and physiological function in response to stress in tea plants remain unclear. The proteins encoded by the full-length terpene synthase (CsTPS1) and its alternative splicing isoform (CsTPS1-AS) could catalyze the formation of geraniol when GPP was used as a substrate in vitro, whereas the expression of CsTPS1-AS was only significantly induced by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Neopestalotiopsis sp. infection. Silencing of CsTPS1 and CsTPS1-AS resulted in a significant decrease of geraniol content in tea plants. The geraniol content and disease resistance of tea plants were compared when CsTPS1 and CsTPS1-AS were silenced. Down-regulation of the expression of CsTPS1-AS reduced the accumulation of geraniol, and the silenced tea plants exhibited greater susceptibility to pathogen infection than control plants. However, there was no significant difference observed in the geraniol content and pathogen resistance between CsTPS1-silenced plants and control plants in the tea plants infected with two pathogens. Further analysis showed that silencing of CsTPS1-AS led to a decrease in the expression of the defense-related genes PR1 and PR2 and SA pathway-related genes in tea plants, which increased the susceptibility of tea plants to pathogens infections. Both in vitro and in vivo results indicated that CsTPS1 is involved in the regulation of geraniol formation and plant defense via alternative splicing in tea plants. The results of this study provide new insights into geraniol biosynthesis and highlight the role of monoterpene synthases in modulating plant disease resistance via alternative splicing.