, Volume 231, Issue 4, pp 835–845 | Cite as

A genomics resource for investigating regulation of essential oil production in Lavandula angustifolia

  • Alexander Lane
  • Astrid Boecklemann
  • Grant N. Woronuk
  • Lukman Sarker
  • Soheil S. MahmoudEmail author
Original Article


We are developing Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) as a model system for investigating molecular regulation of essential oil (a mixture of mono- and sesquiterpenes) production in plants. As an initial step toward building the necessary ‘genomics toolbox’ for this species, we constructed two cDNA libraries from lavender leaves and flowers, and obtained sequence information for 14,213 high-quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Based on homology to sequences present in GenBank, our EST collection contains orthologs for genes involved in the 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate (DXP) and the mevalonic acid (MVA) pathways of terpenoid biosynthesis, and for known terpene synthases and prenyl transferases. To gain insight into the regulation of terpene metabolism in lavender flowers, we evaluated the transcriptional activity of the genes encoding for 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) and HMG-CoA reductase (HMGR), which represent regulatory steps of the DXP and MVA pathways, respectively, in glandular trichomes (oil glands) by real-time PCR. While HMGR transcripts were barely detectable, DXS was heavily expressed in this tissue, indicating that essential oil constituents are predominantly produced through the DXP pathway in lavender glandular trichomes. As anticipated, the linalool synthase (LinS)—the gene responsible for the production of linalool, a major constituent of lavender essential oil—was also strongly expressed in glands. Surprisingly, the most abundant transcript in floral glandular trichomes corresponded to a sesquiterpene synthase (cadinene synthase, CadS), although sesquiterpenes are minor constituents of lavender essential oils. This result, coupled to the weak activity of the MVA pathway (the main route for sesquiterpene production) in trichomes, indicates that precursor supply may represent a bottleneck in the biosynthesis of sesquiterpenes in lavender flowers.


Lavandula Essential oil Isoprenoids EST library Genomics Glandular trichome 



Expressed sequence tag


1-Deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutartl-CoA reductase


Linalool synthase


[E]-β-Farnesene synthase




Mevalonic acid


Isopentenyl diphosphate


Dimethylallyl diphosphate


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutartl-CoA synthase


Gene ontology


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction


Polymerase chain reaction


Contiguous sequence



This work was supported by grants from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia, Canada Foundation for Innovation, British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and UBC Okanagan. We would like to thank Michael Weis (Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Summerland, Canada) for his assistance with electron microscopy. We also thank NAPGEN (Plant Biotechnology Institute; Saskatoon, Canada) for supporting the research. In particular, we are grateful to Rong Li and Dustin Cram for construction of the cDNA libraries and related bioinformatics analyses. Finally, we are grateful to Dr. Mark Rheault of UBC Okanagan for his assistance with real-time PCR.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Lane
    • 1
  • Astrid Boecklemann
    • 2
  • Grant N. Woronuk
    • 1
  • Lukman Sarker
    • 1
  • Soheil S. Mahmoud
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biology and Physical Geography, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and SciencesUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.Boucher Institute of Naturopathic MedicineNew WestminsterCanada

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