ODORANT1 targets multiple metabolic networks in petunia flowers

Plant J. 2021 Dec 4. doi: 10.1111/tpj.15618. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Scent bouquets produced by the flowers of Petunia spp. (petunia) are composed of a complex mixture of floral volatile benzenoid and phenylpropanoid compounds (FVBPs), which are specialized metabolites derived from phenylalanine (Phe) through an interconnected network of enzymes. The biosynthesis and emission of high levels of these volatiles requires coordinated transcriptional activation of both primary and specialized metabolic networks. The petunia R2R3-MYB transcription factor ODORANT 1 (ODO1) was identified as a master regulator of FVBP production and emission; however, our knowledge of the direct regulatory targets of ODO1 has remained limited. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) in petunia flowers, we identify genome-wide ODO1-bound genes that are enriched not only in genes involved in the biosynthesis of the Phe precursor, as previously reported, but also genes associated with the specialized metabolic pathways involved in generating phenylpropanoid intermediates for FVBPs. ODO1-bound genes are also involved in methionine and S-adenosylmethionine metabolism, which could modulate methyl group supplies for certain FVBPs. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and RNA-seq analysis in an ODO1 RNAi knockdown line revealed that ODO1-bound targets are expressed at lower levels when ODO1 is suppressed. A cis-regulatory motif, CACCAACCCC, was identified as a potential binding site for ODO1 in the promoters of genes that are both bound and activated by ODO1, which was validated by in planta promoter reporter assays with wild-type and mutated promoters. Overall, our work presents a mechanistic model for ODO1 controlling an extensive gene regulatory network that contributes to FVBP production to give rise to floral scent.

Keywords: Petunia hybrida; ChIP-seq; floral scent; plant metabolism; promoter motif; transcription factor; volatiles.