Publications by authors named "Zheng-An Liu"

11 Publications

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A comprehensive study of three species of Paeonia stem and leaf phytochemicals, and their antioxidant activities.

J Ethnopharmacol 2021 Jun 2;273:113985. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China. Electronic address:

Ethnopharmacological Relevance: Paeonia plants have been widely used as traditional Chinese medicinal materials for more than 2,000 years in the treatment of cardiovascular, extravasated blood and female genital diseases; paeoniflorin and paeonol have been implicated as the plants' primary active ingredients.

Aim Of The Study: Previous studies have been singularly focused on the chemical constituents and content variation of the Paeonia roots in the advancement of traditional Chinese medicine, with the plants' stems and leaves considered useless. This study aims to explore the chemical constituents, content variation, and antioxidant capacity in Paeonia stems and leaves for the future utilization of traditional Chinese medicine, given that current practices of digging and trade endanger Paeonia in the wild.

Materials And Methods: Herein, secondary metabolites from the stems and leaves from six developmental stages of the annual growth cycle of Paeonia ostii T. Hong & J. X. Zhang, P. 'Hexie', and P. lactiflora Pall. were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed via high-performance liquid chromatography with a diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) and high-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (HPLC-Q-TOF-MS). Antioxidant capacity at each stage was also evaluated by various free radical scavenging assays.

Results: A total of 24 metabolites were detected and identified, including 5 monoterpene glycosides, 4 tannins, 5 phenols, 9 flavonoids, and paeonol. Excepting paeonol and the phenols, the levels of each metabolite category were significantly higher in the leaves than the stems during all developmental stages. The paeoniflorin content in the P. ostii leaves was the highest during the first developmental stage and higher than the standards of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, suggesting it to be the optimal harvesting stage for medicinal uses. Notably, the antioxidant capacity of the leaves was significantly greater than in the stems, particularly for the leaves of P. 'Hexie'.

Conclusion: Our study indicates that the leaves of P. 'Hexie' have the potential to be a worthy medicinal substitute to Paeonia roots due to their high monoterpene glycosides, phenols, and flavonoids as well as their strong antioxidant capacity. Further, this study provides a theoretical basis for the development and utilization of non-root Paeonia plant sections as medicinal plant resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2021.113985DOI Listing
June 2021

Ecotopic over-expression of PoCHS from Paeonia ostii altered the fatty acids composition and content in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Physiol Plant 2020 Nov 27. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

Chalcone synthase (CHS) is the key enzyme in the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway and has been studied in many plants, but the function of the CHS gene has not been well characterized in Paeonia ostii. In this study, we obtained a CHS homolog gene from P. ostii, which possessed the putative conserved amino acids of chalcone synthase by multiple alignment analysis and demonstrated the highest expression in developing seeds. In vitro assays of the recombinant PoCHS protein confirmed enzymatic activity using malonyl-CoA and 4-coumaroyl-CoA as substrates, and the optimal pH and reaction temperature were 7.5 and 40 °C, respectively. Furthermore, ectopic over-expression of PoCHS in Arabidopsis up-regulated the expression levels of genes involved in seed development (ABI), glycolysis (PKp2, PDH-E1a, and SUS2/3), and especially fatty acid biosynthesis (BCCP2, CAC2, CDS2, FatA, and FAD3). This resulted in an increased unsaturated fatty acid content, especially α-linolenic acid, in transgenic Arabidopsis seeds. In this study, we examined the functions of CHS homolog of P. ostii and demonstrated its new function in seed fatty acid biosynthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ppl.13293DOI Listing
November 2020

Fatty Acid Composition, Phytochemistry, Antioxidant Activity on Seed Coat and Kernel of from Main Geographic Production Areas.

Foods 2019 Dec 28;9(1). Epub 2019 Dec 28.

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources and Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.

is an important woody oil plant cultivated in China on a large scale. Its seed oil is enriched with unsaturated fatty acids and a high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which are beneficial to human health. The aim of this research is to determine the qualitative traits characteristic of seed from various production areas in China. In this study, seed quality traits were evaluated on the basis of proximate composition, content of fatty acids, tocopherol, secondary metabolites, and the antioxidant activity of seed coat (PSC) and kernel (PSK). A high content of total fatty acids (298.89-399.34 mg g), crude protein (16.91%-22.73%), and total tocopherols (167.83-276.70 μg g) were obtained from PSK. Significant differences were found in the content of palmitic acids (11.31-14.27 mg g), stearic acids (2.42-4.24 mg g), oleic acids (111.25-157.63 mg g), linoleic acids (54.39-83.59 mg g), and ALA (99.85-144.71 mg g) in the 11 main production areas. Eight and seventeen compounds were detected in PSC and PSK, respectively. A significantly higher content of total phenols was observed in PSC (139.49 mg g) compared with PSK (3.04 mg g), which was positively related to antioxidant activity. This study indicates that seeds of would be a good source of valuable oil and provides a basis for seed quality evaluation for the production of edible oil and potential ALA supplements from the promising woody oil plant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/foods9010030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7022864PMC
December 2019

Chalcone synthase is ubiquitinated and degraded via interactions with a RING-H2 protein in petals of Paeonia 'He Xie'.

J Exp Bot 2019 09;70(18):4749-4762

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

Flavonoids are secondary metabolites widely distributed among angiosperms, where they play diverse roles in plant growth, development, and evolution. The regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis in plants has been extensively studied at the transcriptional level, but post-transcriptional, translational, and post-translational control of flavonoid biosynthesis remain poorly understood. In this study, we analysed post-translational regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis in the ornamental plant Paeonia, using proteome and ubiquitylome profiling, in conjunction with transcriptome data. Three enzymes involved in flavonoid biosynthesis were identified as being putative targets of ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Among these, chalcone synthase (PhCHS) was shown to have the greatest number of ubiquitination sites. We examined PhCHS abundance in petals using PhCHS-specific antibody and found that its accumulation decreased at later developmental stages, resulting from 26S proteasome-mediated degradation. We further identified a ring domain-containing protein (PhRING-H2) that physically interacts with PhCHS and demonstrated that PhRING-H2 is required for PhCHS ubiquitination. Taken together, our results suggest that PhRING-H2-mediates PhCHS ubiquitination and degradation is an important mechanism of post-translational regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis in Paeonia, providing a theoretical basis for the manipulation of flavonoid biosynthesis in plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erz245DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6760318PMC
September 2019

A Novel R2R3-MYB Transcription Factor Contributes to Petal Blotch Formation by Regulating Organ-Specific Expression of PsCHS in Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa).

Plant Cell Physiol 2019 Mar;60(3):599-611

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

Flower color patterns play critical roles in plant-pollinator interactions and represent one of the most common adaptations during angiosperm evolution. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying flower color pattern formation are less understood in non-model organisms. The aim of this study was to identify genes involved in the formation of petal blotches in tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) through transcriptome profiling and functional experiments. We identified an R2R3-MYB gene, PsMYB12, representing a distinct R2R3-MYB subgroup, with a spatiotemporal expression pattern tightly associated with petal blotch development. We further demonstrated that PsMYB12 interacts with a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) and a WD40 protein in a regulatory complex that directly activates PsCHS expression, which is also specific to the petal blotches. Together, these findings advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pigment pattern formation beyond model plants. They also benefit molecular breeding of tree peony cultivars with novel color patterns and promote germplasm innovation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcy232DOI Listing
March 2019

Phytochemical variation among the traditional Chinese medicine Mu Dan Pi from Paeonia suffruticosa (tree peony).

Phytochemistry 2018 Feb 22;146:16-24. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Electronic address:

Mu Dan Pi is a traditional Chinese medicine used to treat inflammation, cancer, allergies, diabetes, angiocardiopathy, and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, the metabolome variation within Mu Dan Pi collected from 372 tree peony cultivars was systematically investigated. In total, 42 metabolites were identified, comprising of 14 monoterpene glucosides, 11 tannins, 8 paeonols, 6 flavonoids, and 3 phenols. All cultivars revealed similar metabolite profiles, however, they were further classified into seven groups on the basis of their varying metabolite contents by hierarchical cluster analysis. Traditional cultivars for Mu Dan Pi were found to have very low metabolite contents, falling into clusters I and II. Cultivars with the highest amounts of metabolites were grouped in clusters VI and VII. Five potential cultivars, namely, 'Bai Yuan Qi Guan', 'Cao Zhou Hong', 'Da Zong Zi', 'Sheng Dan Lu', and 'Cheng Xin', with high contents of monoterpene glycosides, tannins, and paeonols, were further screened. Interestingly, the majority of investigated cultivars had relatively higher metabolite contents compared to the traditional medicinal tree peony cultivars.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2017.11.008DOI Listing
February 2018

Methylation mediated by an anthocyanin, O-methyltransferase, is involved in purple flower coloration in Paeonia.

J Exp Bot 2015 Nov 23;66(21):6563-77. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Key Laboratory of Plant Resources/ Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, PR China

Anthocyanins are major pigments in plants. Methylation plays a role in the diversity and stability of anthocyanins. However, the contribution of anthocyanin methylation to flower coloration is still unclear. We identified two homologous anthocyanin O-methyltransferase (AOMT) genes from purple-flowered (PsAOMT) and red-flowered (PtAOMT) Paeonia plants, and we performed functional analyses of the two genes in vitro and in vivo. The critical amino acids for AOMT catalytic activity were studied by site-directed mutagenesis. We showed that the recombinant proteins, PsAOMT and PtAOMT, had identical substrate preferences towards anthocyanins. The methylation activity of PsAOMT was 60 times higher than that of PtAOMT in vitro. Interestingly, this vast difference in catalytic activity appeared to result from a single amino acid residue substitution at position 87 (arginine to leucine). There were significant differences between the 35S::PsAOMT transgenic tobacco and control flowers in relation to their chromatic parameters, which further confirmed the function of PsAOMT in vivo. The expression levels of the two homologous AOMT genes were consistent with anthocyanin accumulation in petals. We conclude that AOMTs are responsible for the methylation of cyanidin glycosides in Paeonia plants and play an important role in purple coloration in Paeonia spp.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erv365DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4623676PMC
November 2015

Three new oligostilbenes from the seeds of Paeonia suffruticosa.

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2010 Jun;58(6):843-7

Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Peking Union Medical College.

Three new oligostilbenes, trans-suffruticosol D (1), cis-suffruticosol D (2), and cis-gnetin H (7), were isolated along with the eight known stilbenes, trans-resveratrol (3), trans-epsilon-viniferin (4), cis-epsilon-viniferin (5), gnetin H (6), suffruticosol A (8), suffruticosol B (9), suffruticosol C (10), and cis-ampelopsin E (11) from the seeds of Paeonia suffruticosa. Compounds 3-6 were isolated for the first time from this plant species, and compound 11 was isolated for the first time from the genus Paeonia. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated based on spectral analyses, including 1D and 2D NMR experiments. The absolute configuration of compound 1 was determined by quantum chemical calculation of the electronic circular dichroism and comparison with the experimental circular dichroism spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/cpb.58.843DOI Listing
June 2010

[Comparison of the content of effective components between tree peony wild species and main cultivars].

Zhong Yao Cai 2008 Mar;31(3):327-31

Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.

Objective: To determine the content of paeonol and paeoniflorin in wild tree peony species and main medicinal cultivars in order to provide scientific foundations for the industrialization of tree peony cortex.

Methods: HPLC was used to compare the effective content of different resources.

Results: (1) The content range of paeonol and paeoniflorin of 7 wild species was 0.10%-0.61% and 2.22%-5.57%, respectively; (2) The content range of paeonol and paeoniflorin of all cultivars from different producing area was 0.33%-1.43% and 1.60%-2.85%; (3) The content range of paeonol and paeoniflorin of different cultivars in the same place (Changping, Beijing) was 0.27%-0.75% and 1.87%-3.96%; (4) The content range of paeonol of cultivars from the same area was 0.34%-1.10%. There was no significant difference of relative content of paeoniflorin from the same areas.

Conclusion: The relative content of main medicinal components of wild species was not higher than cultivar; the differences were significant among cultivars; the relative content of paeonol of 'JSF' was high; more attention of choosing cultivars and producing areas should be paid in tree peony cortex producing.
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March 2008

Studies on Paeonia cultivars and hybrids identification based on SRAP analysis.

Hereditas 2008 Feb;145(1):38-47

Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiangshan, Haidian District, Beijing, PR China.

Plants of Paeonia are valuable for their ornamental and medicinal values. Genetic relations and hybrids identification among different sections of Paeonia were studied using sequence related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers. A total of 29 cultivars including 2 intersectional hybrids, 13 sect. Moutan and 14 from sect. Paeonia were used. A total of 197 bands were produced using 24 primer combinations, among which 187 bands showed polymorphism. From the bands amplified, we can identify the peony cultivars using unique SRAP markers and specific primer combinations. Fourteen peony cultivars were distinguished among each other by using totally 35 SRAP markers, which were generated by 16 primer pairs. Two specific primer pairs of Me8/Em8 and Me8/Em1 can be used to identify cultivars from different sections. The mean genetic similarity coefficient (GS), the gene diversity (GD), and the Shannon's information index of peony cultivars were 0.45, 0.19 and 0.32, respectively. Both UPGMA (unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic average) dendrogram and PCA (principle component analysis) analysis showed clear genetic relationships among the 29 peony cultivars, and within section and its intersectional hybrids. The above results are valuable for estimating and analyzing genetic background of Paeonia, parent selection in crossing breeding programs, molecular marker assisted selection (MAS) breeding for further germplasm innovation programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0018-0661.2008.2013.xDOI Listing
February 2008

Molecular characterization of tree peony germplasm using sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers.

Biochem Genet 2008 Apr 26;46(3-4):162-79. Epub 2008 Jan 26.

Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20 Nanxin Cun, Xiangshan, Haidian District, Beijing, 100093, P.R. China.

This study examined 63 tree peony specimens, consisting of 3 wild species and 63 cultivars, using sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) markers for the purpose of detecting genomic polymorphisms. Bulk DNA samples from each specimen were evaluated with 23 SRAP primer pairs. Among the 296 different amplicons, 262 were polymorphic. The maximum parsimony, neighbor-joining, and unweighted pair-group method using arithmetic average trees were largely in congruence. In the three trees, the wild species Paeonia ludlowii and P. delavayi formed separate clusters with strong bootstrap support, and P. ostii was closely related to all cultivars. The cultivars were divided into groups with various corresponding bootstrap values. The genetic similarity among the genotypes ranged from 0.02 to 0.73. These results demonstrate that SRAP markers are effective in detecting genomic polymorphisms in the tree peony and should be useful for linkage map construction and molecular marker assisted selection breeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10528-007-9140-8DOI Listing
April 2008