Large scale transcriptome sequencing was first performed in Marsdenia tenacissima.

Identification of genes with potential relevance to the steroid biosynthesis

Five unigenes involved in polyoxypregnane biosynthesis were analyzed by qRT-PCR.


Marsdenia tenacissima is a well-known anti-cancer medicinal plant used in traditional Chinese medicine due to bioactive constituents of polyoxypregnane glycosides, such as tenacissosides, marsdenosides and tenacigenosides. Genomic information regarding this plant is very limited, and rare information is available about the biosynthesis of polyoxypregnane glycosides. To facilitate the basic understanding about the polyoxypregnane glycoside biosynthetic pathways, de novo assembling was performed to generate a total of 73,336 contigs and 65,796 unigenes, which represent the first transcriptome of this species. These included 27 unigenes that were involved in steroid biosynthesis and could be related to pregnane backbone biosynthesis. The expression patterns of six unigenes involved in polyoxypregnane biosynthesis were analyzed in leaf and stem tissues by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) to explore their putative function. Furthermore, a total of 15,295 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were identified from 11,911 unigenes, of which di-nucleotide motifs were the most abundant.


Marsdenia tenacissima


Polyoxypregnane glycosides


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