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CsTCPs regulate shoot tip development and catechin biosynthesis in tea plant (Camellia sinensis)

  • Yu, Shuwei1
  • Li, Penghui1
  • Zhao, Xuecheng1
  • Tan, Mangmang1
  • Ahmad, Muhammad Zulfiqar1
  • Xu, Yujie1
  • Tadege, Million2
  • Zhao, Jian1
  • 1 Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, 230036, China , Hefei (China)
  • 2 Oklahoma State University, 3210 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK, 73401, USA , Ardmore (United States)
Published Article
Horticulture Research
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
May 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41438-021-00538-7
Springer Nature


The growth of leaves and biosynthesis of characteristic secondary metabolites are critically important for tea production and quality control. However, little is known about the coordinated regulation of leaf development and catechin biosynthesis in tea plants. Here, we reported that TCP TFs are involved in both catechin biosynthesis and leaf development. An integrated analysis of catechin profiling and CsTCP expression in different tissues of plants under various environmental conditions at different developmental stages indicated significant correlations between the transcript levels of CIN-type TCPs and catechin production. CIN-type CsTCP3 and CsTCP4 and PCF-type CsTCP14 interacted with the MYB-bHLH-WD40 repeat (MBW) complex by forming a CsTCP3-CsTT8 heterodimer and modulating the transactivation activity of the promoters of anthocyanin synthase (CsANS1) and anthocyanidin reductase (CsANR1). Four types of microRNA/target modules, miR319b/CsTCP3-4, miR164b/CsCUC, miR396/CsGRF-GIF, and miR165b/HD-ZIPIII ones, were also identified and characterized for their functions in the regulation of the development of tea plant shoot tips and leaf shape. The results of these modules were reflected by their different expression patterns in developing buds and leaves that had distinctly different morphologies in three different tea plant varieties. Their roles in the regulation of catechin biosynthesis were also further verified by manipulation of microRNA319b (miR319b), which targets the transcripts of CsTCP3 and CsTCP4. Thus, CsTCPs represent at least one of these important groups of TFs that can integrate tea plant leaf development together with secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Our study provides new insight into shoot tip development and catechin production in tea plants and lays a foundation for further mechanistic understanding of the regulation of tea plant leaf development and secondary metabolism.

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