Taxus cuspidata is well known worldwide for its ability to produce Taxol, one of the top-selling natural anticancer drugs. However, current Taxol production cannot match the increasing needs of the market, and novel strategies should be considered to increase the supply of Taxol. Since the biosynthetic mechanism of Taxol remains largely unknown, elucidating this pathway in detail will be very helpful in exploring alternative methods for Taxol production.Here, we sequenced Taxus cuspidata transcriptomes with next-generation sequencing (NGS) and third-generation sequencing (TGS) platforms. After correction with Illumina reads and removal of redundant reads, more than 180,000 nonredundant transcripts were generated from the raw Iso-Seq data. Using Cogent software and an alignment-based method, we identified a total of 139 cytochrome P450s (CYP450s), 31 BAHD acyltransferases (ACTs) and 1940 transcription factors (TFs). Based on phylogenetic and coexpression analysis, we identified 9 CYP450s and 7 BAHD ACTs as potential lead candidates for Taxol biosynthesis and 6 TFs that are possibly involved in the regulation of this process. Using coexpression analysis of genes known to be involved in Taxol biosynthesis, we elucidated the stem biosynthetic pathway. In addition, we analyzed the expression patterns of 12 characterized genes in the Taxol pathway and speculated that the isoprene precursors for Taxol biosynthesis were mainly synthesized via the MEP pathway. In addition, we found and confirmed that the alternative splicing patterns of some genes varied in different tissues, which may be an important tissue-specific method of posttranscriptional regulation.A strategy was developed to generate corrected full-length or nearly full-length transcripts without assembly to ensure sequence accuracy, thus greatly improving the reliability of coexpression and phylogenetic analysis and greatly facilitating gene cloning and characterization. This strategy was successfully utilized to elucidate the Taxol biosynthetic pathway, which will greatly contribute to the goals of improving the Taxol content in Taxus spp. using molecular breeding or plant management strategies and synthesizing Taxol in microorganisms using synthetic biological technology.
Journal: BMC plant biology