Table_1_Metabolite and Transcriptome Profiling Analysis Revealed That Melatonin Positively Regulates Floral Scent Production in Hedychium coronarium.XLSX
Melatonin is a pleiotropic molecule that regulates a variety of developmental processes. Floral volatiles are important features of flowers that facilitate flower–visitor interactions by attracting pollinators, structure flower–visitor communities, and play defensive roles against plant and flower antagonists. Aside from their role in plants, floral volatiles are an essential ingredient in cosmetics, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, and flavorings. Herein, integrated metabolomic and transcriptomic approaches were carried out to analyze the changes triggered by melatonin exposure during the Hedychium coronarium flower development stages. Quantitative analysis of the volatiles of H. coronarium flowers revealed that volatile organic compound emission was significantly enhanced after melatonin exposure during the half bloom (HS), full bloom (FB) and fade stage (FS). Under the melatonin treatment, the emission of volatile contents was highest during the full bloom stage of the flower. Variable importance in projection (VIP) analysis and partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) identified 15 volatile compounds with VIP > 1 that were prominently altered by the melatonin treatments. According to the transcriptome sequencing data of the HS, FB, and FS of the flowers, 1,372, 1,510, and 1,488 differentially expressed genes were identified between CK-HS and 100MT-HS, CK-FB and 100MT-FB, and CK-FS and 100MT-FS, respectively. Among the significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs), 76 were significantly upregulated and directly involved in the floral scent biosynthesis process. In addition, certain volatile organic compounds were substantially linked with various DEGs after combining the metabolome and transcriptome datasets. Moreover, some transcription factors, such as MYB and bHLH, were also significantly upregulated in the comparison, which might be related to the floral aroma mechanism. Our results suggested that melatonin increased floral aroma production in H. coronarium flowers by modifying the expression level of genes involved in the floral scent biosynthesis pathway. These findings serve as a foundation for future research into the molecular mechanisms underlying the dynamic changes in volatile contents induced by melatonin treatment in H. coronarium.