Background: Hericium erinaceus, also known as lion's mane mushroom, is a widely distributed edible and medicinal fungus in Asian countries. H. erinaceus harbors diverse bioactive metabolites with anticancer, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic and neuroprotective properties. Although the chemical synthesis processes of these bioactive metabolites are known, the biosynthetic processes remain unknown.
Results: In this study, we obtained the transcriptomes of six H. erinaceus strains using next-generation RNA sequencing and investigated the characteristics of the transcriptomes and biosynthesis of bioactive compounds, especially polysaccharides. The transcriptomes ranged in size from 46.58 to 58.14 Mb, with the number of unigenes ranging from 20,902 to 37,259 across the six H. erinaceus strains. Approximately 60% of the unigenes were successfully annotated by comparing sequences against different databases, including the nonredundant (NR), Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), clusters of orthologous groups for eukaryotic complete genomes (KOG) and Swiss-Prot databases. Most of the transcripts were putatively involved in signal transduction, carbohydrate metabolism, translation, transport and catabolism, and amino acid metabolism. Genes involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis were identified, and these genes encoded phosphoglucomutase (PGM), glucose phosphate isomerase (PGI), UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGP), glycoside hydrolase family proteins, glycosyltransferase family proteins and other proteins. Moreover, the putative pathway for the intracellular polysaccharide biosynthesis of H. erinaceus was analyzed. Additionally, the open reading frames (ORFs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were predicted from the transcriptome data of the six strains.
Conclusions: Overall, the present study may facilitate the discovery of polysaccharide biosynthesis processes in H. erinaceus and provide useful information for exploring the secondary metabolites in other members of the Basidiomycetes genus.
Keywords: Comparative transcriptome; Erinacines; Hericium erinaceus; Polysaccharide biosynthesis; RNA-Seq.