Plant Molecular Biology Reporter

, Volume 36, Issue 5–6, pp 832–843 | Cite as

Transcriptomic Profiling of Lathyrus sativus L. Metabolism of β-ODAP, a Neuroexcitatory Amino Acid Associated with Neurodegenerative Lower Limb Paralysis

  • Quanle Xu
  • Fengjuan Liu
  • Ruihong Qu
  • Jason D. Gillman
  • Chunxiao Bi
  • Xin Hu
  • Peng ChenEmail author
  • Hari B. KrishnanEmail author
Original Paper


Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) is a unique potential crop for marginal arid regions with untapped, exceptional biotic/abiotic stress tolerance, and high protein content seeds. High dietary intake of grass pea is associated with neurodegenerative lower limb paralysis, thought due to the compound β-N-oxalyl-L-α, β-diaminopropionic acid (β-ODAP). β-ODAP increases after seed germination and then decreases subsequently. To monitor changes in gene expression during seed germination, RNA sequencing was performed on seedlings at 2, 6, and 25 days after sowing. A total of 213,258 unigenes were detected, corresponding to 39,548 coding sequences. Extensive Gene Ontology and coexpression network analysis suggested that primary metabolism, particularly carbohydrates and sulfur, were correlated with β-ODAP content. Our results identified transcriptional profiles related to grass pea seedling development, and provide invaluable insight into mechanisms of β-ODAP accumulation and degradation. Defining the gene space is essential for intelligent genetic, biotechnological, and breeding efforts to reduce β-ODAP for human benefit.


β-ODAP Lathyrus sativus Transcriptome Gene expression Seedling 


Authors’ contributions

Quanle Xu, Peng Chen, and Hari Krishnan designed the study. Quanle Xu, Jason D. Gillman, Peng Chen, and Hari Krishnan wrote and edited the manuscript. Fengjuan Liu and Ruihong Qu performed qRT-PCR validation. Fengjuan Liu, Jason D. Gillman, Chunxiao Bi, and Xin Hu carried out bioinformatics analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (31401910), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M590975), Postdoctoral Science Foundation of Shaanxi province (2016BSHEDZZ119), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2014YB040), P.R. China.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11105_2018_1123_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
11105_2018_1123_Fig9_ESM.png (286 kb)
Supplemental Figure 1

The quality of the transcriptome sequence assembly result and the size distribution. (PNG 286 kb)

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High resolution image (TIF 531 kb)
11105_2018_1123_Fig10_ESM.png (271 kb)
Supplemental Figure 2

Top BLAST hit species distribution and summary of BLAST2GO annotation of coding sequences identified in Lathyrus sativus transcriptome. (PNG 271 kb)

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High resolution image (TIF 438 kb)
11105_2018_1123_Fig11_ESM.png (1.5 mb)
Supplemental Figure 3

Weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) of differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Cytoscape representation of coexpressed gene CS TR27757|c5_g1_i2 len = 1358. (PNG 1500 kb)

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High resolution image (TIF 8865 kb)
11105_2018_1123_Fig12_ESM.png (171 kb)
Supplemental Figure 4

Weighted gene coexpression network analysis (WGCNA) of differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Cytoscape representation of coexpressed gene CS TR72159|c0_g1_i2 len = 1526. (PNG 170 kb)

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High resolution image (TIF 4221 kb)
11105_2018_1123_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (63.8 mb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 65328 kb)
11105_2018_1123_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (44.4 mb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 45459 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Plant Genetics Research Unit, USDA-Agricultural Research ServiceUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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