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The interplay of processes in central and specialized metabolisms during seed development of Nigella sativa L. was studied by using a high-throughput metabolomics technology and network-based analysis. Two major metabolic shifts were identified during seed development: the first was characterized by the accumulation of storage lipids (estimated as total fatty acids) and N-compounds, and the second by the biosynthesis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and a 30% average decrease in total fatty acids. Network-based analysis identified coordinated metabolic processes during development and demonstrated the presence of five network communities. Enrichment analysis indicated that different compound classes, such as sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids, are largely separated and over-represented in certain communities. One community displayed several terpenoids and the central metabolites, shikimate derived amino acids, raffinose, xylitol and glycerol-3-phosphate. The latter are related to precursors of the mevalonate-independent pathway for VOC production in the plastid; also plastidial fatty acid 18∶3n-3 abundant in "green" seeds grouped with several major terpenes. The findings highlight the interplay between the components of central metabolism and the VOCs. The developmental regulation of Nigella seed metabolism during seed maturation suggests a substantial re-allocation of carbon from the breakdown of fatty acids and from N-compounds, probably towards the biosynthesis of VOCs.

Citation

Wentao Xue, Albert Batushansky, David Toubiana, Ilan Botnick, Jedrzej Szymanski, Inna Khozin-Goldberg, Zoran Nikoloski, Efraim Lewinsohn, Aaron Fait. The Investment in Scent: Time-Resolved Metabolic Processes in Developing Volatile-Producing Nigella sativa L. Seeds. PloS one. 2013;8(9):e73061


PMID: 24019893

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