Taxol is currently a valuable anticancer drug; however, the accumulated mixture of taxoids can vary greatly among Taxus species. So far, there is very little genomic information for the genus Taxus, except for Taxus baccata. Transcriptome analysis is a powerful approach to explore the different regulatory mechanisms underlying the taxoid biosynthesis pathway in Taxus species.

In a recent study, researchers from Hangzhou Normal University quantified the variation in the taxoid contents between Taxus media and Taxus mairei. The contents of paclitaxel and 10-deacetylpaclitaxel in T. media were found to be higher than that in T. mairei. The transcriptome profiles of T. media and T. mairei were analyzed to investigate the altered expressions using poly(A) RNA-seq service. A total of 20,704 significantly differentially expressed genes (DEGs), including 9865 unigenes predominantly expressed in T. media and 10,839 unigenes predominantly expressed in T. mairei, were identified. In total, 120 jasmonic acid-related DEGs were analyzed, suggesting variations in ‘response to JA stimulus’ and ‘JA biosynthetic process’ pathways between T. media and T. mairei. Furthermore, a number of genes related to the precursor supply, taxane skeleton formation and hydroxylation, and C13-side chain assembly were also identified.

Researchers believe the differential expression of the candidate genes involved in taxoid biosynthetic pathways may explain the variation in the taxoid contents between T. media and T. mairei.

LC Sciences

Differential expression of the genes related to jasmonic acid metabolism and signaling pathway.


C. Yu, H. Guo, Y. Zhang, Y. Song, E. Pi, C. Yu, L. Zhang, C. Shen et al. (2017) Identification of potential genes that contributed to the variation in the taxoid contents between two Taxus species (Taxus media and Taxus mairei) Tree Phys. doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpx091 [abstract]


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