Single-cell transcriptome atlas reveals developmental trajectories and a novel metabolic pathway of catechin esters in tea leaves

Qiang Wang, Yi Wu, Anqi Peng, Jilai Cui, Mingyue Zhao, Yuting Pan, Mengting Zhang, Kai Tian, Wilfried Schwab, Chuankui Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tea plant is an economically important woody beverage crop. The unique taste of tea is evoked by certain metabolites, especially catechin esters, whereas their precise formation mechanism in different cell types remains unclear. Here, a fast protoplast isolation method was established and the transcriptional profiles of 16 977 single cells from 1st and 3rd leaves were investigated. We first identified 79 marker genes based on six isolated tissues and constructed a transcriptome atlas, mapped developmental trajectories and further delineated the distribution of different cell types during leaf differentiation and genes associated with cell fate transformation. Interestingly, eight differently expressed genes were found to co-exist at four branch points. Genes involved in the biosynthesis of certain metabolites showed cell- and development-specific characteristics. An unexpected catechin ester glycosyltransferase was characterized for the first time in plants by a gene co-expression network in mesophyll cells. Thus, the first single-cell transcriptional landscape in woody crop leave was reported and a novel metabolism pathway of catechin esters in plants was discovered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2089-2106
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • ScRNA-seq
  • catechin
  • development
  • glycosyltransferase
  • leaf
  • tea plant

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