, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 1107-1123

Comparative analysis of expressed sequence tags from Sesamum indicum and Arabidopsis thaliana developing seeds

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Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is an important oilseed crop which produces seeds with 50% oil that have a distinct flavor and contains antioxidant lignans. Because sesame lignans are known to have antioxidant and health-protecting properties, metabolic pathways for lignans have been of interest in developing sesame seeds. As an initial approach to identify genes involved in accumulation of storage products and in the biosynthesis of antioxidant lignans, 3328 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained from a cDNA library of immature seeds 5–25 days old. ESTs were clustered and analyzed by the BLASTX or FASTAX program against the GenBank NR and Arabidopsis proteome databases. To compare gene expression profiles during development of green and non-green seeds, a comparative analysis was carried out between developing sesame and Arabidopsis seed ESTs. Analyses of these two seed EST sets have helped to identify similar and different gene expression profiles during seed development, and to identify a large number of sesame seed-specific genes. In particular, we have identified EST candidates for genes possibly involved in biosynthesis of sesame lignans, sesamin and sesamolin, and also suggest a possible metabolic pathway for the generation of cofactors required for synthesis of storage lipid in non-green oilseeds. Seed-specific expression of several candidate genes has been confirmed by northern blot analysis.