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Accumulation of Charantin and Expression of Triterpenoid Biosynthesis Genes in Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

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journal contribution
posted on 24.07.2017, 00:00 by Do Manh Cuong, Jin Jeon, Abubaker M. A. Morgan, Changsoo Kim, Jae Kwang Kim, Sook Young Lee, Sang Un Park
Charantin, a natural cucurbitane type triterpenoid, has been reported to have beneficial pharmacological functions such as anticancer, antidiabetic, and antibacterial activities. However, accumulation of charantin in bitter melon has been little studied. Here, we performed a transcriptome analysis to identify genes involved in the triterpenoid biosynthesis pathway in bitter melon seedlings. A total of 88,703 transcripts with an average length of 898 bp were identified in bitter melon seedlings. On the basis of a functional annotation, we identified 15 candidate genes encoding enzymes related to triterpenoid biosynthesis and analyzed their expression in different organs of mature plants. Most genes were highly expressed in flowers and/or fruit from the ripening stages. An HPLC analysis confirmed that the accumulation of charantin was highest in fruits from the ripening stage, followed by male flowers. The accumulation patterns of charantin coincide with the expression pattern of McSE and McCAS1, indicating that these genes play important roles in charantin biosynthesis in bitter melon. We also investigated optimum light conditions for enhancing charantin biosynthesis in bitter melon and found that red light was the most effective wavelength.