De Novo Transcriptomics Analysis of the Floral Scent of Chinese Narcissus

  • Yansen HeEmail author
  • Min Xu
  • Xiaojing ChenEmail author


The Chinese narcissus is a well-known monocotyledon plant with a beautiful color, and fresh with a sweet floral scent. Lack of transcriptomic and genomic information hinders understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of narcissus floral scent volatiles. Here we predicted the functions of identified significantly differentially expressed genes (DEGs), according to public protein annotation databases. Using RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) on the Illumina HiSeq system and de novo transcriptome assembly, we investigated gene expression in narcissus corona and petal tissues at the early flowering (day 1) and full-bloom (day 7) stages. Significant differences in the expression profiles of 14 fragrance-related genes were further analyzed by qRT-PCR. A total of 62,826,860,514 bases were generated by RNA-seq; clean reads were 210,658,254 bp, and the guanine-cytosine content was 47.7%–48.88%. Transcripts (n = 167,374; 67.27%) and unigenes (n = 81,442; 32.73%) had mean lengths of 1069.70 bp and 813.27 bp, respectively. The total length and N50 length values of transcripts were 179,040,048 bp and 1654 bp, while those of unigenes were 66,234,291 bp and 1406 bp. Assembled genes were annotated by comparison with the non-redundant, Protein family, Clusters of Orthologous Groups of proteins, Swiss-Prot, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes, and Gene Ontology, public protein databases. Additionally, 46 and 71 significantly differentially expressed genes encoded enzymes and transcription factors, respectively, associated with floral volatiles biosynthesis pathways, were analyzed in-depth. Our findings represent a fundamental step toward better understanding of the mechanisms of narcissus floral volatile biosynthesis.


Transcriptomics Narcissus Floral scent Biosynthesis DEGs qRT-PCR 



solid-phase microextraction


gas chromatography/mass spectrometry


nerolidol/linalool synthase


terpene synthase


pyridoxal-50 -phosphate-dependent L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase


phenylacetaldehyde reductase


1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase


phenylalanine ammonia-lyase


benzyl alcohol acetyltransferase


benzoic acid carboxyl methyl transferase


salicylic acid carboxyl methyl- transferase


Hydroperoxide lyase




betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase 2


non-redundant protein sequences


Protein family


Clusters of Orthologous Groups of proteins


a manually annotated and reviewed protein sequence database


Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes


Gene Ontology


differential expressed genes


isopentenyl diphosphate


dimethylallyl diphosphate


glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate


2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate


1-D-desoxyxylulose 5-phosphate synthase


1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate


thiamine pyrophosphate


2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4- phosphate cytidylyltransferase


cytosine 5′-triphosphate


isoprenylcysteine methylesterase


geranylgeranyl diphosphate


dehydrodolichyl diphosphate


dedol-PP synthase


abscisic acid




4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2-phosphate


2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate


2- C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate


1-hydroxy-2-methyl-butenyl 4-disphosphate


(E, E)-Famesyl-PP






momilactone A synthase




10-deacetylbaccatin III 10-O-acetyltransferase






tyrosine ammonia lyase


4-coumarate--CoA ligase


aldehyde dehydrogenase


cinnamoyl CoA reductase




cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase


aspartate aminotransferase


shikimate O-hydroxycinnamoyl transferase;


benzyl alcohol O-benzoyltransferase


basic leucine zipper


ethylene-responsive factor


basic helix-loop-helix


serum response factor






mitogen-activated protein kinase


jasmonate acid


bHLH iridoid synthesis 1


real-time quantitative PCR


fragments per kilobase of transcript per million mapped reads


false discovery rate


transcription factors



We would like to thank the Charlesworth ( for language editing services.

Author Contributions

HYS and XM drafted the manuscript together. HYS conceived the study and participated in the design of all experiments. XM performed qRT-PCR and statistical analysis. CXJ participated in the data analysis and discussion about the experiments. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC; 30972031) and the Science and Technology Innovation Team of Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (STIT2017-2-11).

Compliance with Ethics Standards

Conflict Interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict interest.

Supplementary material

12042_2020_9253_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary Table 3 (DOCX 16 kb)
12042_2020_9253_MOESM2_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary Table 4 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Subtropical AgricultureFujian Academy of Agricultural SciencesZhangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Tropical CropsHainan UniversityHaikouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of HorticultureFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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