Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 295–313 | Cite as

Integration of deep transcript and targeted metabolite profiles for eight cultivars of opium poppy

  • Isabel Desgagné-Penix
  • Scott C. Farrow
  • Dustin Cram
  • Jacek Nowak
  • Peter J. Facchini


Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology and analytical mass spectrometry are providing unprecedented opportunities to develop the functional genomics resources required to investigate complex biological processes in non-model plants. Opium poppy produces a wide variety of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs), including the pharmaceutical compounds codeine, morphine, noscapine and papaverine. A functional genomics platform to identify novel BIA biosynthetic and regulatory genes in opium poppy has been established based on the differential metabolite profile of eight selected cultivars. Stem cDNA libraries from each of the eight opium poppy cultivars were subjected to 454 pyrosequencing and searchable expressed sequence tag databases were created from the assembled reads. These deep and integrated metabolite and transcript databases provide a nearly complete representation of the genetic and metabolic variances responsible for the differential occurrence of specific BIAs in each cultivar as demonstrated using the biochemically well characterized pathway from tyrosine to morphine. Similar correlations between the occurrence of specific transcripts and alkaloids effectively reveals candidate genes encoding uncharacterized biosynthetic enzymes as shown using cytochromes P450 potentially involved in the formation of papaverine and noscapine.


454 Pyrosequencing Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids Opium poppy Metabolite profiling Transcriptomics 



Benzylisoquinoline alkaloid


Collision-induced dissociation


Cytochrome P450


Electrospray ionization


Expressed sequence tag


High-pressure liquid chromatography


Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry


Multiple reaction monitoring

Supplementary material

11103_2012_9913_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (105 kb)
Chromatographic and spectral data used for identification and quantification of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids by LC–MS/MS analysis. CID spectra shown in red were taken from the references provided. All other CID spectra were determined from authentic standards (PDF 105 kb)
11103_2012_9913_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (79 kb)
Selected unknown compounds detected in latex extracts of eight opium poppy cultivars determined by LC–MS/MS analysis (PDF 79 kb)
11103_2012_9913_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (320 kb)
List of the top 100 most abundant unigenes in each of eight opium poppy cultivars (PDF 320 kb)
11103_2012_9913_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (376 kb)
List of the top 100 most abundant unigenes in each of eight opium poppy cultivars (PDF 375 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Desgagné-Penix
    • 1
  • Scott C. Farrow
    • 1
  • Dustin Cram
    • 2
  • Jacek Nowak
    • 2
  • Peter J. Facchini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.National Research Council-Plant Biotechnology InstituteSaskatoonCanada

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