Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg, a member of the family Euphorbiaceae, is the sole natural resource exploited for commercial production of high-quality natural rubber. The properties of natural rubber latex are almost irreplaceable by synthetic counterparts for many industrial applications. A paucity of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of rubber biosynthesis in high yield traits still persists. Here we report the comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the widely planted H. brasiliensis clone, RRIM 600. The genome was assembled based on ~155-fold combined coverage with Illumina and PacBio sequence data and has a total length of 1.55 Gb with 72.5% comprising repetitive DNA sequences. A total of 84,440 high-confidence protein-coding genes were predicted. Comparative genomic analysis revealed strong synteny between H. brasiliensis and other Euphorbiaceae genomes. Our data suggest that H. brasiliensis's capacity to produce high levels of latex can be attributed to the expansion of rubber biosynthesis-related genes in its genome and the high expression of these genes in latex. Using cap analysis gene expression data, we illustrate the tissue-specific transcription profiles of rubber biosynthesis-related genes, revealing alternative means of transcriptional regulation. Our study adds to the understanding of H. brasiliensis biology and provides valuable genomic resources for future agronomic-related improvement of the rubber tree.
Natural rubber has unique physical properties that cannot be replaced by products from other latex-producing plants or petrochemically produced synthetic rubbers. Rubber from Hevea brasiliensis is the main commercial source for this natural rubber that has a cis-polyisoprene configuration. For sustainable production of enough rubber to meet demand elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in the production of latex is vital. To this end, we firstly constructed rubber full-length cDNA libraries of RRIM 600 cultivar and sequenced around 20,000 clones by the Sanger method and over 15,000 contigs by Illumina sequencer. With these data, we updated around 5,500 gene structures and newly annotated around 9,500 transcription start sites. Second, to elucidate the rubber biosynthetic pathways and their transcriptional regulation, we carried out tissue- and cultivar-specific RNA-Seq analysis. By using our recently published genome sequence, we confirmed the expression patterns of the rubber biosynthetic genes. Our data suggest that the cytoplasmic mevalonate (MVA) pathway is the main route for isoprenoid biosynthesis in latex production. In addition to the well-studied polymerization factors, we suggest that rubber elongation factor 8 (REF8) is a candidate factor in cis-polyisoprene biosynthesis. We have also identified 39 transcription factors that may be key regulators in latex production. Expression profile analysis using two additional cultivars, RRIM 901 and PB 350, via an RNA-Seq approach revealed possible expression differences between a high latex-yielding cultivar and a disease-resistant cultivar.
Hevea brasiliensis, a member of the Euphorbiaceae family, is the major commercial source of natural rubber (NR). NR is a latex polymer with high elasticity, flexibility, and resilience that has played a critical role in the world economy since 1876.
Hevea brasiliensis is the most widely cultivated species for commercial production of natural rubber (cis-polyisoprene). In this study, 10,040 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated from the latex of the rubber tree, which represents the cytoplasmic content of a single cell type, in order to analyse the latex transcription profile with emphasis on rubber biosynthesis-related genes. A total of 3,441 unique transcripts (UTs) were obtained after quality editing and assembly of EST sequences. Functional classification of UTs according to the Gene Ontology convention showed that 73.8% were related to genes of unknown function. Among highly expressed ESTs, a significant proportion encoded proteins related to rubber biosynthesis and stress or defence responses. Sequences encoding rubber particle membrane proteins (RPMPs) belonging to three protein families accounted for 12% of the ESTs. Characterization of these ESTs revealed nine RPMP variants (7.9-27 kDa) including the 14 kDa REF (rubber elongation factor) and 22 kDa SRPP (small rubber particle protein). The expression of multiple RPMP isoforms in latex was shown using antibodies against REF and SRPP. Both EST and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (QRT-PCR) analyses demonstrated REF and SRPP to be the most abundant transcripts in latex. Besides rubber biosynthesis, comparative sequence analysis showed that the RPMPs are highly similar to sequences in the plant kingdom having stress-related functions. Implications of the RPMP function in cis-polyisoprene biosynthesis in the context of transcript abundance and differential gene expression are discussed.
The cytosolic mevalonate (MVA) pathway in Hevea brasiliensis latex is the conventionally accepted pathway which provides isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) for cis-polyisoprene (rubber) biosynthesis. However, the plastidic 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway may be an alternative source of IPP since its more recent discovery in plants. Quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) expression profiles of genes from both pathways in latex showed that subcellular compartmentalization of IPP for cis-polyisoprene synthesis is related to the degree of plastidic carotenoid synthesis. From this, the occurrence of two schemes of IPP partitioning and utilization within one species is proposed whereby the supply of IPP for cis-polyisoprene from the MEP pathway is related to carotenoid production in latex. Subsequently, a set of latex unique gene transcripts was sequenced and assembled and they were then mapped to IPP-requiring pathways. Up to eight such pathways, including cis-polyisoprene biosynthesis, were identified. Our findings on pre- and post-IPP metabolic routes form an important aspect of a pathway knowledge-driven approach to enhancing cis-polyisoprene biosynthesis in transgenic rubber trees.
The natural rubber latex extracted from the bark of Hevea brasiliensis plays various important roles in today's modern society. Following ultracentrifugation, the latex can be separated into 3 layers: C-serum, lutoids, and rubber particles. Previous studies have shown that a large number of proteins are present in these 3 layers. However, a complete proteome for this important plant is still unavailable. Protein sequences have been recently translated from the completed draft genome database of H. brasiliensis, leading to the creation of annotated protein databases of the following H. brasiliensis biosynthetic pathways: photosynthesis, latex allergens, rubberwood formation, latex biosynthesis, and disease resistance. This research was conducted to identify the proteins contained within the latex by way of de novo sequencing from mass spectral data obtained from the 3 layers of the latex. Peptides from these proteins were fragmented using collision-induced dissociation, higher-energy collisional dissociation, and electron-transfer dissociation activation methods. A large percentage of proteins from the biosynthetic pathways (63% to 100%) were successfully identified. In addition, a total of 1839 unique proteins were identified from the whole translated draft genome database (AnnHBM).
Natural rubber (polyisoprene) from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis is synthesized by specialized cells called laticifers. It is not clear how rubber particles arise, although one hypothesis is that they derive from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Here we cloned the genes encoding four key proteins found in association with rubber particles and studied their intracellular localization by transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. We show that, while the cis-prenyltransferase (CPT), responsible for the synthesis of long polyisoprene chains, is a soluble, cytosolic protein, other rubber particle proteins such as rubber elongation factor (REF), small rubber particle protein (SRPP) and Hevea rubber transferase 1-REF bridging protein (HRBP) are associated with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We also show that SRPP can recruit CPT to the ER and that interaction of CPT with HRBP leads to both proteins relocating to the plasma membrane. We discuss these results in the context of the biogenesis of rubber particles.
One of the concerns of assembling de novo transcriptomes is determining the amount of read sequences required to ensure a comprehensive coverage of genes expressed in a particular sample. In this report, we describe the use of Illumina paired-end RNA-Seq (PE RNA-Seq) reads from Hevea brasiliensis (rubber tree) bark to devise a transcript mapping approach for the estimation of the read amount needed for deep transcriptome coverage.
The natural rubber of Para rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, is the main crop involved in industrial rubber production due to its superior quality. The Hevea bark is commercially exploited to obtain latex, which is produced from the articulated secondary laticifer. The laticifer is well defined in the aspect of morphology; however, only some genes associated with its development have been reported. We successfully induced secondary laticifer in the jasmonic acid (JA)-treated and linolenic acid (LA)-treated Hevea bark but secondary laticifer is not observed in the ethephon (ET)-treated and untreated Hevea bark. In this study, we analysed 27,195 gene models using NimbleGen microarrays based on the Hevea draft genome. 491 filtered differentially expressed (FDE) transcripts that are common to both JA- and LA-treated bark samples but not ET-treated bark samples were identified. In the Eukaryotic Orthologous Group (KOG) analysis, 491 FDE transcripts belong to different functional categories that reflect the diverse processes and pathways involved in laticifer differentiation. In the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and KOG analysis, the profile of the FDE transcripts suggest that JA- and LA-treated bark samples have a sufficient molecular basis for secondary laticifer differentiation, especially regarding secondary metabolites metabolism. FDE genes in this category are from the cytochrome (CYP) P450 family, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter family, short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) family, or cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) family. The data includes many genes involved in cell division, cell wall synthesis, and cell differentiation. The most abundant transcript in FDE list was SDR65C, reflecting its importance in laticifer differentiation. Using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) as part of annotation and functional prediction, several characterised as well as uncharacterized transcription factors and genes were found in the dataset. Hence, the further characterization of these genes is necessary to unveil their role in laticifer differentiation. This study provides a platform for the further characterization and identification of the key genes involved in secondary laticifer differentiation.