3 Biotech

, 9:257 | Cite as

Comparative transcriptomic analysis of high- and low-oil Camellia oleifera reveals a coordinated mechanism for the regulation of upstream and downstream multigenes for high oleic acid accumulation

  • Bo Wu
  • Chengjiang RuanEmail author
  • Ping Han
  • Dong Ruan
  • ChaoWei Xiong
  • Jian Ding
  • Sihei Liu
Original Article


Tea oil camellia (Camellia oleifera) is an important woody oil tree in southern China. However, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms that contribute to high oleic acid accumulation in tea oil camellia. Herein, we measured the oil content and fatty acid compositions of high- and low-oil tea oil camellia seeds and investigated the global gene expression profiles by RNA-seq. The results showed that at the early, second and third seed developmental stages, a total of 64, 253, and 124 genes, respectively, were significantly differentially expressed between the high- and low-oil cultivars. Gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of the identified differentially expressed transcription factors (TFs; ABI3, FUS3, LEC1, WRI1, TTG2 and DOF4.6) revealed some critical GO terms associated with oil biosynthesis and fatty acid accumulation, including glycolysis, zinc ion binding, positive regulation of fatty acid biosynthetic process, triglyceride biosynthetic process, seed coat development, abscisic acid-mediated signaling pathway and embryo development. Comprehensive comparisons of transcriptomic profiles and expression analysis of multigenes based on qRT-PCR showed that coordinated high expression of the upstream genes HAD, EAR and KASI directly increased the relative levels of C16:0-ACP, which provided enough precursor resources for oleic acid biosynthesis. Continuous high expression of the SAD gene accelerated oleic acid synthesis and accumulation, and coordinated low expression of the downstream genes FAD2, FAD3, FAD7, FAD8 and FAE1 decreased the consumption of oleic acid for conversion. The coordinated regulation of these multigenes ensures the high accumulation of oleic acid in the seeds of tea oil camellia. Our data represent a comprehensive transcriptomic study of high- and low-oil tea oil camellia, not only increasing the number of sequences associated with lipid biosynthesis and fatty acid accumulation in public resource databases but also providing a scientific basis for genetic improvement of the oleic acid content in woody oil trees.


Camellia oleifera RNA-seq Seed oil content Fatty acid accumulation Coordinated regulation of upstream and downstream multigenes 



This research was supported by the Key Technology Research and Development Program of Guizhou Province ([2019]2404, [2018]5252, [2018]4016, [2017]2521, [2016]2517-1, [2016]2519) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (0918-110071). The original mRNA-seq data of this study was uploaded to NCBI’s database and released, and the data path is /fasp/ruanchengjiang/CleanData.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Bioresources Utilization, Ministry of Education, Institute of Plant ResourcesDalian Minzu UniversityDalianChina
  2. 2.Tongren Engineering Research Center for Oiltea CamelliaYupingChina

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