Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.) is a traditional Andean crop with great potential for various sanitarian and medical functions, which is attracting increased research attention. The majority of previous Maca studies were focused on biochemistry and pharmacodynamics, while the genetic basis of its unique characteristics lagged due to a lack of genome information. The authors perform gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis in the hypocotyls of three Maca ecotypes and identify 79 compounds. Among them, 62 compounds have distinct profiles among Maca ecotypes. To reveal the underlying regulatory mechanism of the chemical composition differences, de novo transcriptome sequencing is performed and the transcription profiles of three Maca ecotypes are comparatively analyzed. Functional analysis indicates several key pathways, including “starch and sucrose metabolism,” “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis,” “phenylalanine metabolism” and “plant-pathogen interaction,” are involved in regulating the chemical compositions of Maca. Combining metabolomics and transcriptomics analysis indicates transcription factors such as MYB and WRKY and mediators such as protein kinase and bifunctional inhibitors might be critical regulators of chemical composition in Maca. The transcriptome reference genome and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) obtained in this study might serve as an initial step to illustrate the genetic differences in nutrient component, secondary metabolites content, medicinal function and stress resistance in Maca.
Chen, Q., Li, M., Wang, C., Li, Z., Xu, J., Zheng, Q., … Zhou, H. (2018). Combining targeted metabolites analysis and transcriptomics to reveal chemical composition difference and underlying transcriptional regulation in maca (Lepidium Meyenii Walp.) ecotypes. Genes, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9070335