Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Tevin Williams - Saint Augustine's University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Cornelius Barry, Matt Bedswitz, Josh Garber
Tropane alkaloids are a class of plant specialized metabolites of pharmaceutical importance that includes the narcotic cocaine, which is synthesized in the Erythroxylaceae and the medicinals, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine that are synthesized in the Solanaceae. Roughly 200 tropane alkaloids structures are known in plants and they are synthesized through multistep pathways that are not fully understood. Studies in the Solanaceae family using the Atropa, Hyoscyamus, and Datura genera have led to the identification of several tropane alkaloid related genes and a proposed pathway of tropane alkaloid biosynthesis. The availability of genome sequences for multiple members of the Solanaceae, including crop plants such as tomato, potato, petunia and tobacco allow investigations into the evolution of tropane alkaloid biosynthesis across this family. In this study, we examined gene presence absence variation of tropane-related genes across the Solanaceae, identifying patterns of gene loss that correlate with the observed chemo diversity. In particular, we investigated a key branch point in tropane alkaloid biosynthesis, the reduction of tropinone to either tropine or pseudotropine, which is a factor that contributes to the relative composition of downstream tropane alkaloids and for which evidence of gene presence / absence variation appears to be present in Petunia species.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research was supported NSF REU Site: Plant Genomics @ MSU (DBI-1358474) and NSF IOS-1546617.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark Melton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I did the enzyme assays, pH optimization, and Gene silencing.