Brassica villosa, a system for studying non-glandular trichomes and genes in the Brassicas

Plant Mol Biol. 2014 Jul;85(4-5):519-39. doi: 10.1007/s11103-014-0201-1. Epub 2014 May 16.


Brassica villosa is a wild Brassica C genome species with very dense trichome coverage and strong resistance to many insect pests of Brassica oilseeds and vegetables. Transcriptome analysis of hairy B. villosa leaves indicated higher expression of several important trichome initiation genes compared with glabrous B. napus leaves and consistent with the Arabidopsis model of trichome development. However, transcripts of the TRY inhibitory gene in hairy B. villosa were surprisingly high relative to B. napus and relative transcript levels of SAD2, EGL3, and several XIX genes were low, suggesting potential ancillary or less important trichome-related roles for these genes in Brassica species compared with Arabidopsis. Several antioxidant, calcium, non-calcium metal and secondary metabolite genes also showed differential expression between these two species. These coincided with accumulation of two alkaloid-like compounds, high levels of calcium, and other metals in B. villosa trichomes that are correlated with the known tolerance of B. villosa to high salt and the calcium-rich natural habitat of this wild species. This first time report on the isolation of large amounts of pure B. villosa trichomes, on trichome content, and on relative gene expression differences in an exceptionally hairy Brassica species compared with a glabrous species opens doors for the scientific community to understand trichome gene function in the Brassicas and highlights the potential of B. villosa as a trichome research platform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / anatomy & histology*
  • Brassica / genetics
  • Brassica / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology*
  • Metals
  • Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Array Analysis
  • Seedlings
  • Trichomes / physiology*


  • Metals
  • Plant Proteins