Tea, made from leaves of Camellia sinensis, has long been consumed worldwide for its unique taste and aroma. Terpenoids play important roles not only in tea beverage aroma formation, but also in the productivity and quality of tea plantation due to their significant contribution to light harvesting pigments and phytohormones. To date, however, the regulation of terpenoid synthase genes remains unclear.

Researchers at Anhui Agricultural University, performed analyses and integration of metabolomics, sRNAs, degradome, and transcriptomics  for identifying key regulatory miRNA-target circuits on terpenoid biosynthesis in leaf tissues over five different months in which the amount of terpenoids in tea leaves varies greatly. Four classes of miRNA-TF pairs that might play a central role in the regulation of terpenoid biosynthesis were also uncovered. Ultimately, a hypothetical model was proposed that mature miRNAs maintained by light regulator at both the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels negatively regulate the targets to control terpenoid biosynthesis.

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Zhao S, Wang X, Yan X, Guo L, Mi X, Xu Q, Zhu J, Wu A, Liu L, Wei C. (2019) Revealing of MicroRNA Involved Regulatory Gene Networks on Terpenoid Biosynthesis in Camellia sinensis in Different Growing Time Points. J Agric Food Chem 66(47):12604-12616. [abstract]

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