Apr 29, 2020

Genome-Enabled Discovery of Anthraquinone Biosynthesis in Senna tora

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Sang-Ho KangJ. K. Sohng


Senna tora is a widely used medicinal plant. Its health benefits have been attributed to the large quantity of anthraquinones, but how they are made in plants remains a mystery. To identify the genes responsible for plant anthraquinone biosynthesis, we sequenced and annotated the genome of S. tora at the chromosome level with contig N50 and super-scaffold N50 of 4.03 Mb and 41.7 Mb. Comparison among related plant species showed that a chalcone synthase-like (CHS-L) gene family has lineage-specifically and rapidly expanded in S. tora. Combining genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and biochemistry, we identified a CHS-L responsible for biosynthesis of anthraquinones, the first example in plants. The S. tora reference genome will accelerate the discovery of biologically active anthraquinone biosynthesis pathways in medicinal plants.

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