Genetical metabolomics of flavonoid biosynthesis in Populus: a case study

Plant J. 2006 Jul;47(2):224-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02786.x. Epub 2006 Jun 15.


Genetical metabolomics [metabolite profiling combined with quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis] has been proposed as a new tool to identify loci that control metabolite abundances. This concept was evaluated in a case study with the model tree Populus. Using HPLC, the peak abundances were analyzed of 15 closely related flavonoids present in apical tissues of two full-sib poplar families, Populus deltoides cv. S9-2 x P. nigra cv. Ghoy and P. deltoides cv. S9-2 x P. trichocarpa cv. V24, and correlation and QTL analysis were used to detect flux control points in flavonoid biosynthesis. Four robust metabolite quantitative trait loci (mQTL), associated with rate-limiting steps in flavonoid biosynthesis, were mapped. Each mQTL was involved in the flux control to one or two flavonoids. Based on the identities of the affected metabolites and the flavonoid pathway structure, a tentative function was assigned to three of these mQTL, and the corresponding candidate genes were mapped. The data indicate that the combination of metabolite profiling with QTL analysis is a valuable tool to identify control points in a complex metabolic pathway of closely related compounds.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Flavonoids / biosynthesis*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Lod Score
  • Populus / chemistry
  • Populus / genetics*
  • Populus / metabolism*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*


  • Flavonoids