Wonder spice turmeric’s expressed DNAs Sequenced by Bangalore based Genotypic Technology
Bangalore, India - 5th April 2013 — Turmeric is a well known spice used by Indians since ages. Apart from adding taste and colour to a dish, it also has many health properties. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has also revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease. In fact in India, Turmeric is also known as the healer’s spice.
Despite turmeric’s growing economic and medicinal importance, a comprehensive transcriptome level investigation is lacking. The ‘transcriptome’ is the set of all RNA molecules produced in one or a population of cells. The transcriptome therefore reflects the genes that are being actively expressed at any given time. Genotypic Technology, a Bangalore based Genomics Company took an initiative in studying and completing the transcriptome assembly of this plant, scientifically known as Curcuma longa, using state-of-the art Next Generation Sequencing technology at its Department of Scientific and Industrial research (DSIR), Government of India recognized R&D unit. This is also of significance as an Indian company has been able to complete this feat when other countries like China and USA have been interested in this important plant as well. In fact, the highlight of this study is that the company has attempted to analyze and annotate C.longa transcriptome from the rhizomes of three popularly cultivated cultivars in South India; Cultivar Nattu (traditional) yields small rhizomes, cultivar Erode (commercial variety) with larger rhizomes and cultivar Mysore (requires higher irrigation and provides higher yeilds). Dr Annadurai, the lead author of the paper opines “understanding the turmeric genome is relevant in the context of the very high importance attributed to anti cancer and anti malarial properties of curcumin and turmeric”
Genotypic’s strength lies in its decade old expertise in genomics. With a dynamic team of molecular biologists and bio-informaticians and a large Genomics facility with Next Gen Sequencing machines like Ion Proton, Ion Torrent, Illumina and SOLiD the team was able to assemble and functionally annotate the transcriptome of all the cultivar varieties of the C.longa. In fact, prior to this work, the company had sequenced the transcriptome of another Indian medicinal plant Costus pictus also known as the “insulin plant” in South India. The work was published in BMC Genomics journal and is one of the highest accessed articles.
In the current study, pathway annotation revealed the presence of many important secondary metabolite pathways which synthesize compounds with diverse medicinal properties. Analysis indicated the presence of compounds with anti-cancer (taxol, matairesinol), anti-oxidant(flavonoids), antimalarial (acridone alkaloids, artemisinin), pesticidal(Benzoxazinoids) and antibiotic (hypericin) properties. Dr Raja C Mugasimangalam, Founder and CEO of Genotypic, believes that this work has provided a major impetus for further research in turmeric’s various beneficial properties. In fact, some of the observations that come out of this research go to show how other hitherto unknown genes found in this plant (related to taxol biosynthetic pathway, vincristine, vinblastine synthesis pathways etc.) can be beneficial for anti-cancer properties in addition to the well known transcript (curcumin) that turmeric is known to possess. Dr Raja says “beyond turmeric we are and also hope to extend our collaborations with government organizations like CSIR, DBT, DST, ICMR and other educational institutions to sequence plant species of Indian origin ”
The de novo transcriptome of this very important phytochemical herb brings out for the first time novel transcripts related to anticancer, antimalarial and anti-oxidant properties. Proper validation of the results at biochemical, cellular and animal model studies will certainly highlight more useful properties of turmeric in traditional and alternative medicine.
Gopalakrishna Ramaswamy Ph.D.,
Below is the link to Publication
De Novo Transcriptome Assembly (NGS) of Curcuma longa L. Rhizome Reveals NovelTranscripts Related to Anticancer and Antimalarial Terpenoids
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