Evolutionary and reproductive success of angiosperms, the most diverse group of land plants, relies on visual and olfactory cues for pollinator attraction. Previous work has focused on elucidating the developmental regulation of pathways leading to the formation of pollinator-attracting secondary metabolites such as scent compounds and flower pigments. However, to date little is known about how flowers control their entire metabolic network to achieve the highly regulated production of metabolites attracting pollinators. Integrative analysis of transcripts and metabolites in snapdragon sepals and petals over flower development performed in this study revealed a profound developmental remodeling of gene expression and metabolite profiles in petals, but not in sepals. Genes up-regulated during petal development were enriched in functions related to secondary metabolism, fatty acid catabolism, and amino acid transport, whereas down-regulated genes were enriched in processes involved in cell growth, cell wall formation, and fatty acid biosynthesis. The levels of transcripts and metabolites in pathways leading to scent formation were coordinately up-regulated during petal development, implying transcriptional induction of metabolic pathways preceding scent formation. Developmental gene expression patterns in the pathways involved in scent production were different from those of glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway, highlighting distinct developmental regulation of secondary metabolism and primary metabolic pathways feeding into it.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/basil-nikolau/1/