Background: Guar, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (L.) Taub, is a member of the Leguminosae (Fabaceae) family and is economically the most important of the four species in the genus. The endosperm of guar seed is a rich source of mucilage or gum, which forms a viscous gel in cold water, and is used as an emulsifier, thickener and stabilizer in a wide range of foods and industrial applications. Guar gum is a galactomannan, consisting of a linear (1-->4)-beta-linked D-mannan backbone with single-unit, (1-->6)-linked, alpha-D-galactopyranosyl side chains. To better understand regulation of guar seed development and galactomannan metabolism we created cDNA libraries and a resulting EST dataset from different developmental stages of guar seeds.
Results: A database of 16,476 guar seed ESTs was constructed, with 8,163 and 8,313 ESTs derived from cDNA libraries I and II, respectively. Library I was constructed from seeds at an early developmental stage (15-25 days after flowering, DAF), and library II from seeds at 30-40 DAF. Quite different sets of genes were represented in these two libraries. Approximately 27% of the clones were not similar to known sequences, suggesting that these ESTs represent novel genes or may represent non-coding RNA. The high flux of energy into carbohydrate and storage protein synthesis in guar seeds was reflected by a high representation of genes annotated as involved in signal transduction, carbohydrate metabolism, chaperone and proteolytic processes, and translation and ribosome structure. Guar unigenes involved in galactomannan metabolism were identified. Among the seed storage proteins, the most abundant contig represented a conglutin accounting for 3.7% of the total ESTs from both libraries.
Conclusion: The present EST collection and its annotation provide a resource for understanding guar seed biology and galactomannan metabolism.