News Release

Lavender's secret: genetic regulator boosts plant health and fragrance output

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Nanjing Agricultural University The Academy of Science

Analysis of the potential biological role of LaMYC7 for P. syringae.


Analysis of the potential biological role of LaMYC7 for P. syringae. A, P. syringae infection of WT, 2300, and LaMYC7-overexpressing transgenic lines for 5 d for phenotype analysis. B, C, Bacterial population at 5 d in WT, 2300 and LaMYC7-overexpressing transgenic lines (#2, #9). D, E, Antibacterial activity of linalool and caryophyllene against Pst DC3000. LB, Empty lysogeny broth; Pst DC3000, 150 μl Pst DC3000 were dissolved in lysogeny broth medium; Lin + Pst DC3000, 150 μl Pst DC3000 were dissolved in lysogeny broth medium containing 18 μl∙ml−1 linalool. Car + Pst DC3000, 150 μl Pst DC3000 were dissolved in lysogeny broth medium containing 18 μl∙ml−1 caryophyllene. The numbers displayed are the average of at least three replicates (mean ± SD). Following an ANOVA, Fisher’s LSD test revealed that bars labeled with various letters were substantially different (P < 0.05), as seen by the vertical lines at the top of each bar indicating standard errors.

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Credit: Horticulture Research

A groundbreaking study has identified a gene that plays a dual role in enhancing both the aromatic compounds and disease resistance in lavender plants. The research uncovers how the LaMYC7 gene positively regulates the biosynthesis of linalool and caryophyllene, key for lavender's scent and its resistance to common plant pathogens.

Plants face various environmental pressures, including biotic stressors like pathogens and abiotic stressors such as extreme temperatures. Among biotic stressors, Pseudomonas syringae significantly threatens plant health worldwide. Terpenoids, including linalool and caryophyllene, play crucial roles in plant defense mechanisms against such stressors. However, the transcriptional regulation of these compounds remains less understood. Due to these challenges, there is a need to conduct in-depth research on the regulatory mechanisms underlying terpenoid biosynthesis.

Researchers from the State Key Laboratory of Plant Diversity and Specialty Crops at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have published a study (DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhae044) on February 6, 2024, in Horticulture Research. The study reveals that the LaMYC7 transcription factor in lavender significantly enhances the biosynthesis of linalool and caryophyllene, which boosts the plant's resistance to Pseudomonas syringae. This discovery not only sheds light on the transcriptional regulation of terpenoid biosynthesis but also suggests potential applications in developing disease-resistant lavender varieties.

The study used RNA-sequencing, transgenic technology, and enzyme assays to investigate LaMYC7's role in lavender. They found that LaMYC7 is highly expressed in glandular trichomes and responds to stresses like UV light, low temperatures, salt, drought, methyl jasmonate, and Pseudomonas syringae infection. Overexpressing LaMYC7 in Nicotiana increased linalool and caryophyllene content, enhancing terpenoid biosynthesis. LaMYC7 directly binds to the LaTPS76 promoter, boosting caryophyllene production. Additionally, linalool showed strong antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas syringae. These findings suggest that LaMYC7 is crucial for plant defense, regulating terpenoid biosynthesis and enhancing pathogen resistance.

Dr. Lei Shi, the corresponding author of the study, stated, "Our findings provide valuable insights into the transcriptional regulation of terpenoid biosynthesis in lavender. The identification of LaMYC7 as a key regulator opens new possibilities for breeding lavender varieties with enhanced disease resistance and higher essential oil yields. This research underscores the importance of understanding plant defense mechanisms at the molecular level to develop sustainable agricultural practices."

The implications of this research are vast, offering potential applications in agriculture and the fragrance industry. By manipulating the LaMYC7 gene, breeders can develop lavender varieties with increased yields of valuable essential oils and improved resistance to diseases, contributing to sustainable crop production and opening new avenues for the utilization of lavender in various commercial products.





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Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 32300331 and 32270411), International Partnership Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant 063GJHZ2022038GC) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant XDA23080603).

About Horticulture Research

Horticulture Research is an open access journal of Nanjing Agricultural University and ranked number one in the Horticulture category of the Journal Citation Reports ™ from Clarivate, 2022. The journal is committed to publishing original research articles, reviews, perspectives, comments, correspondence articles and letters to the editor related to all major horticultural plants and disciplines, including biotechnology, breeding, cellular and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, inter-species interactions, physiology, and the origination and domestication of crops.

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