Regulatory network of secondary metabolism in Brassica rapa: Insight into the glucosinolate pathway

Dunia Pino Del Carpio*, Ram Kumar Basnet, Danny Arends, Ke Lin, Ric C.H. De Vos, Dorota Muth, Jan Kodde, Kim Boutilier, Johan Bucher, Xiaowu Wang, Ritsert Jansen, Guusje Bonnema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Brassica rapa studies towards metabolic variation have largely been focused on the profiling of the diversity of metabolic compounds in specific crop types or regional varieties, but none aimed to identify genes with regulatory function in metabolite composition. Here we followed a genetical genomics approach to identify regulatory genes for six biosynthetic pathways of health-related phytochemicals, i.e carotenoids, tocopherols, folates, glucosinolates, flavonoids and phenylpropanoids. Leaves from six weeks-old plants of a Brassica rapa doubled haploid population, consisting of 92 genotypes, were profiled for their secondary metabolite composition, using both targeted and LC-MS-based untargeted metabolomics approaches. Furthermore, the same population was profiled for transcript variation using a microarray containing EST sequences mainly derived from three Brassica species: B. napus, B. rapa and B. oleracea. The biochemical pathway analysis was based on the network analyses of both metabolite QTLs (mQTLs) and transcript QTLs (eQTLs). Colocalization of mQTLs and eQTLs lead to the identification of candidate regulatory genes involved in the biosynthesis of carotenoids, tocopherols and glucosinolates. We subsequently focused on the well-characterized glucosinolate pathway and revealed two hotspots of co-localization of eQTLs with mQTLs in linkage groups A03 and A09. Our results indicate that such a large-scale genetical genomics approach combining transcriptomics and metabolomics data can provide new insights into the genetic regulation of metabolite composition of Brassica vegetables.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere107123
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


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