, Volume 250, Issue 1, pp 281–298 | Cite as

Expression patterns of alpha-amylase and beta-amylase genes provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the responses of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) to stress and postharvest processing treatments

  • Chuan YueEmail author
  • Hongli Cao
  • Hongzheng Lin
  • Juan Hu
  • Yijun Ye
  • Jiamin Li
  • Zhilong Hao
  • Xinyuan Hao
  • Yun Sun
  • Yajun YangEmail author
  • Xinchao WangEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

The alpha-amylase and beta-amylase genes have been identified from tea plants, and their bioinformatic characteristics and expression patterns provide a foundation for further studies to elucidate their biological functions.


Alpha-amylase (AMY)- and beta-amylase (BAM)-mediated starch degradation plays central roles in carbohydrate metabolism and participates extensively in the regulation of a wide range of biological processes, including growth, development and stress response. However, the AMY and BAM genes in tea plants (Camellia sinensis) are poorly understood, and the biological functions of these genes remain to be elucidated. In this study, three CsAMY and nine CsBAM genes from tea plants were identified based on genomic and transcriptomic database analyses, and the genes were subjected to comprehensive bioinformatic characterization. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the CsAMY proteins could be clustered into three different subfamilies, and nine CsBAM proteins could be classified into four groups. Putative catalytically active proteins were identified based on multiple sequence alignments, and the tertiary structures of these proteins were analyzed. Cis-element analysis indicated that CsAMY and CsBAM were extensively involved in tea plant growth, development and stress response. In addition, the CsAMY and CsBAM genes were differentially expressed in various tissues and were regulated by stress treatments (e.g., ABA, cold, drought and salt stress), and the expression patterns of these genes were associated with the postharvest withering and rotation processes. Taken together, our results will enhance the understanding of the roles of the CsAMY and CsBAM gene families in the growth, development and stress response of tea plants and of the potential functions of these genes in determining tea quality during the postharvest processing of tea leaves.


Alpha-amylase genes (AMYBeta-amylase genes (BAMPostharvest processing Stress response Tea plant 



ABA response element




Anaerobic response element




Brassinazole resistant 1


Disproportionating enzyme


Glycoside hydrolase


Starch-branching enzyme


Stress responsive element



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31600555, 31800587), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2017J01616), the Major Project of Agricultural Science and Technology in Breeding of Tea Plant Variety in Zhejiang Province (2016C02053-4), the Earmarked Fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-19), the Construction of Plateau Discipline of Fujian Province (102/71201801101), and the Fujian Province “2011 Collaborative Innovation Center” Chinese Oolong Tea Industry Innovation Center (Cultivation) special project (J2015-75).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

425_2019_3171_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 Conservation in the tea plant and Arabidopsis BAM proteins of 15 starch-binding active site residues identified in soybean BAM5 (BMY1). Subsites 1–4 refer to the four Glc residues at the nonreducing end of the substrate. Residues in each sequence that differ from the corresponding residues in the soybean BAM are shaded gray (TIFF 1797 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM2_ESM.tif (589 kb)
Supplementary material 2 LOGO of the conserved motifs of a AMY and b BAM (TIFF 589 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM3_ESM.tif (1.5 mb)
Supplementary material 3 Structural modeling analysis of CsAMY and CsBAM proteins. The 3-D structures of CsAMY and CsBAM proteins were modeled using SWISS-MODEL server and visualized using PyMol software. a The 3-D structures of three CsAMY proteins. Three domains of domains A, B and C are highlighted with cyan, orange and red colors, respectively. Three catalytically important residues, two carbohydrate-binding sites and activity sites are indicated with red, green and blue colors, respectively. b The 3-D structures of nine CsBAM proteins. The active sites are highlighted with hot pink, and two catalytic residues (Glu186 and Glu380) are indicated by yellow dots in each structure (TIFF 1558 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM4_ESM.tif (311 kb)
Supplementary material 4 Expression patterns of CsAMY and CsBAM genes during the postharvest processing of white tea withering. The relative expression levels of target genes were determined at different time points during the postharvest processing of white tea withering using the 2−ΔΔCt method under the control of the CsPTB housekeeping gene. Data are mean ± SE of three independent replicates. Asterisks represent significant differences between withering process and the control according to one-way ANOVA, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01 (TIFF 310 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM5_ESM.tif (307 kb)
Supplementary material 5 Expression patterns of CsAMY and CsBAM genes during the postharvest processing of oolong tea rotation. The relative expression levels of target genes were determined at different time points during the postharvest processing of oolong tea rotation using the 2−ΔΔCt method under the control of the CsPTB housekeeping gene. Data are mean ± SE of three independent replicates. Asterisks represent significant difference between rotating process and the control according to one-way ANOVA, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01 (TIFF 306 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM6_ESM.docx (17 kb)
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425_2019_3171_MOESM8_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 8 (DOCX 24 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM9_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 9 (DOCX 16 kb)
425_2019_3171_MOESM10_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 10 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Horticulture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University/Key Laboratory of Tea ScienceUniversities of Fujian ProvinceFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences/National Center for Tea Improvement/Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Resources UtilizationMinistry of AgricultureHangzhouChina

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