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Title: Laser capture of tomato pericarp tissues for microscale carotenoid analysis by supercritical fluid chromatography
Plant organs and tissues are comprised of an array of cell types often superimposed on a gradient of developmental stages. As a result, the ability to analyze and understand the synthesis, metabolism, and accumulation of plant biomolecules requires improved methods for cell- and tissue-specific analysis. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is the world’s most valuable fruit crop and is an important source of health-promoting dietary compounds, including carotenoids. Furthermore, tomato possesses unique genetic activities at the cell and tissue levels, making it an ideal system for tissue- and cell-type analysis of important biochemicals. A sample preparation workflow was developed for cell-type-specific carotenoid analysis in tomato fruit samples. Protocols for hyperspectral imaging of tomato fruit samples, cryoembedding and sectioning of pericarp tissue, laser microdissection of specific cell types, metabolite extraction using cell wall digestion enzymes and pressure cycling, and carotenoid quantification by supercritical fluid chromatography were optimized and integrated into a working protocol. The workflow was applied to quantify carotenoids in the cuticle and noncuticle component of the tomato pericarp during fruit development from the initial ripening to full ripe stages. Carotenoids were extracted and quantified from cell volumes less than 10 nL. This workflow for cell-type-specific metabolite extraction and quantification can be more » adapted for the analysis of diverse metabolites, cell types, and organisms « less
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Methods in enzymology
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Water availability influences all aspects of plant growth and development; however, most studies of plant responses to drought have focused on vegetative organs, notably roots and leaves. Far less is known about the molecular bases of drought acclimation responses in fruits, which are complex organs with distinct tissue types. To obtain a more comprehensive picture of the molecular mechanisms governing fruit development under drought, we profiled the transcriptomes of a spectrum of fruit tissues from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), spanning early growth through ripening and collected from plants grown under varying intensities of water stress. In addition, we compared transcriptional changes in fruit with those in leaves to highlight different and conserved transcriptome signatures in vegetative and reproductive organs. We observed extensive and diverse genetic reprogramming in different fruit tissues and leaves, each associated with a unique response to drought acclimation. These included major transcriptional shifts in the placenta of growing fruit and in the seeds of ripe fruit related to cell growth and epigenetic regulation, respectively. Changes in metabolic and hormonal pathways, such as those related to starch, carotenoids, jasmonic acid, and ethylene metabolism, were associated with distinct fruit tissues and developmental stages. Gene coexpression network analysis provided furthermore »insights into the tissue-specific regulation of distinct responses to water stress. Our data highlight the spatiotemporal specificity of drought responses in tomato fruit and indicate known and unrevealed molecular regulatory mechanisms involved in drought acclimation, during both vegetative and reproductive stages of development.

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  2. Polyacetylenic lipids accumulate in various Apiaceae species after pathogen attack, suggesting that these compounds are naturally occurring pesticides and potentially valuable resources for crop improvement. These compounds also promote human health and slow tumor growth. Even though polyacetylenic lipids were discovered decades ago, the biosynthetic pathway underlying their production is largely unknown. To begin filling this gap and ultimately enable polyacetylene engineering, we studied polyacetylenes and their biosynthesis in the major Apiaceae crop carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, we identified three known polyacetylenes and assigned provisional structures to two novel polyacetylenes. We also quantified these compounds in carrot leaf, petiole, root xylem, root phloem, and root periderm extracts. Falcarindiol and falcarinol predominated and accumulated primarily in the root periderm. 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These genes can now be used as a basis for discovering other steps of falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis, to modulate polyacetylene levels in plants, and to test the in planta function of these molecules. Many organisms implement specialized biochemical pathways to convert ubiquitous metabolites into bioactive chemical compounds. Since plants comprise the majority of the human diet, specialized plant metabolites play crucial roles not only in crop biology but also in human nutrition. Some asterids produce lipid compounds called polyacetylenes (for review, see Negri, 2015) that exhibit antifungal activity (Garrod et al., 1978; Kemp, 1978; Harding and Heale, 1980, 1981; Olsson and Svensson, 1996) and accumulate in response to fungal phytopathogen attack (De Wit and Kodde, 1981; Elgersma and Liem, 1989). These observations have led to the longstanding hypothesis that polyacetylenes are natural pesticides. These same lipid compounds exhibit cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines and slow tumor growth (Fujimoto and Satoh, 1988; Matsunaga et al., 1989, 1990; Cunsolo et al., 1993; Bernart et al., 1996; Kobaek-Larsen et al., 2005; Zidorn et al., 2005), making them important nutritional compounds. The major source of polyacetylenes in the human diet is carrot (Daucus carota L.). Carrot is one of the most important crop species in the Apiaceae, with rapidly increasing worldwide cultivation (Rubatzky et al., 1999; Dawid et al., 2015). The most common carrot polyacetylenes are C17 linear aliphatic compounds containing two conjugated carbon-carbon triple bonds, one or two carbon-carbon double bonds, and a diversity of additional in-chain oxygen-containing functional groups. In carrot, the most abundant of these compounds are falcarinol and falcarindiol (Dawid et al., 2015). Based on their structures, it has been hypothesized that these compounds (alias falcarin-type polyacetylenes) are derived from ubiquitous fatty acids. Indeed, biochemical investigations (Haigh et al., 1968; Bohlman, 1988), radio-chemical tracer studies (Barley et al., 1988), and the discovery of pathway intermediates (Jones et al., 1966; Kawazu et al., 1973) implicate a diversion of flux away from linolenate biosynthesis as the entry point into falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis (for review, see Minto and Blacklock, 2008). The final steps of linolenate biosynthesis are the conversion of oleate to linoleate, mediated by fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2), and linoleate to linolenate, catalyzed by FAD3. 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