Table_5_Integrated Transcriptomic and Metabolomic Analyses Reveal the Mechanisms Underlying Anthocyanin Coloration and Aroma Formation in Purple Fennel.XLSX
The color and aroma are the significant traits of vegetables and fruits, but the metabolic and molecular mechanisms underlying anthocyanin accumulation and aroma formation remain almost unknown in fennel (Anethum foeniculum L.), which is a crucial vegetable crop and grown widely for aromatic leaves and bulbs. Here, ten major anthocyanins identified and quantified by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole Orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS) were mainly responsible for the coloration of purple fennel leaf. With the application of GC-MS, it was found that the reduced volatile phenylpropanoids including isoeugenol, trans-isoeugenol, and apiol chiefly account for the characteristic aroma changes of the purple fennel. Moreover, the characteristic anthocyanin coloration and aroma formation in purple fennel were systematically studied with the integrated transcriptomics and metabolomics. The critical genes associated with the biosynthesis and regulation of anthocyanins and volatile phenylpropanoids were isolated and studied carefully in transiently transfected tobacco cells and transgenic tomato plants. Together with the results of UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS, RT-qPCR, and yeast two hybrid (Y2H), it is proved that the metabolic flux redirection of phenylpropanoid pathway primarily regulated by a functional MYB-bHLH-WD40 complex consisting of AfTT8, AfMYB7, and AfTTG1 accounts for the characteristic anthocyanin coloration and aroma formation in purple fennel leaf. The systematic understanding of the anthocyanin accumulation and aroma formation will assist in the improvement of fennel resource utilization and breeding.