Tissue-specific transcriptional biomarkers in medicinal plants: Application of large-scale meta-analysis and computational systems biology Academic Article uri icon


  • Biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in plant is a complex process, regulated by many genes and influenced by several factors. In recent years, the next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and advanced statistical analysis such as meta-analysis and computational systems biology have provided novel opportunities to overcome biological complexity. Here, we performed a meta-analysis on publicly available transcriptome datasets of twelve economically significant medicinal plants to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between shoot and root tissues and to find the key molecular features which may be effective in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Meta-analysis identified a total of 880 genes with differential expression between two tissues. Functional enrichment and KEGG pathway analysis indicated that the functions of those DEGs are highly associated with the developmental process, starch metabolic process, response to stimulus, porphyrin and chlorophyll metabolism, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and phenylalanine metabolism. In addition, systems biology analysis of the DEGs was applied to find protein-protein interaction network and discovery of significant modules. The detected modules were associated with hormone signal transduction, transcription repressor activity, response to light stimulus and epigenetic processes. Finally, analysis was extended to search for putative miRNAs that are associated with DEGs. A total of 31 miRNAs were detected which belonged to 16 conserved families. The present study provides a comprehensive view to better understand the tissue-specific expression of genes and mechanisms involved in secondary metabolites synthesis and may provide candidate genes for future researches to improve yield of secondary metabolites.

publication date

  • 2019

published in