Transcriptome analysis identifies putative genes involved in triterpenoid biosynthesis in Platycodon grandiflorus

Planta. 2021 Jul 21;254(2):34. doi: 10.1007/s00425-021-03677-2.


Comprehensive transcriptome analysis of different Platycodon grandiflorus tissues discovered genes related to triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis. Platycodon grandiflorus (Jacq.) A. DC. (P. grandiflorus), a traditional Chinese medicine, contains considerable triterpenoid saponins with broad pharmacological activities. Triterpenoid saponins are the major components of P. grandiflorus. Here, single-molecule real-time and next-generation sequencing technologies were combined to comprehensively analyse the transcriptome and identify genes involved in triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis in P. grandiflorus. We quantified four saponins in P. grandiflorus and found that their total content was highest in the roots and lowest in the stems and leaves. A total of 173,354 non-redundant transcripts were generated from the PacBio platform, and three full-length transcripts of β-amyrin synthase, the key synthase of β-amyrin, were identified. A total of 132,610 clean reads obtained from the DNBSEQ platform were utilised to explore key genes related to the triterpenoid saponin biosynthetic pathway in P. grandiflorus, and 96 differentially expressed genes were selected as candidates. The expression levels of these genes were verified by quantitative real-time PCR. Our reliable transcriptome data provide valuable information on the related biosynthesis pathway and may provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis in P. grandiflorus.

Keywords: Differentially expressed genes; Full-length transcriptome; RNA-Seq; SMRT sequencing; Triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Platycodon* / genetics
  • Saponins*
  • Transcriptome
  • Triterpenes*


  • Saponins
  • Triterpenes