De novo transcriptome profiling unveils the regulation of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis in unripe Piper nigrum berries

Sweda Sreekumar, Kattupalli Divya, Nisha Joy, E. V. Soniya (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) is rich in bioactive compounds that make it an imperative constituent in traditional medicines. Although the unripe fruits have long been used in different Ayurvedic formulations, the mechanism of gene regulation resulting in the production of the bioactive compounds in black pepper is not much investigated. Exploring the regulatory factors favouring the production of bioactive compounds ultimately help to accumulate the medicinally important content of black pepper. The factors that enhance the biosynthesis of these compounds could be potential candidates for metabolic engineering strategies to obtain a high level production of significant biomolecules.

Results: Being a non-model plant, de novo sequencing technology was used to unravel comprehensive information about the genes and transcription factors that are expressed in mature unripe green berries of P. nigrum from which commercially available black pepper is prepared. In this study, the key gene regulations involved in the synthesis of bioactive principles in black pepper was brought out with a focus on the highly expressed phenylpropanoid pathway genes. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of critical genes and transcription factors in the different developmental stages from bud to the mature green berries provides important information useful for choosing the developmental stage that would be best for the production of a particular bioactive compound. Comparison with a previous study has also been included to understand the relative position of the results obtained from this study.

Conclusions: The current study uncovered significant information regarding the gene expression and regulation responsible for the bioactivity of black pepper. The key transcription factors and enzymes analyzed in this study are promising targets for achieving a high level production of significant biomolecules through metabolic engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number501
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


  • Piper nigrum/genetics
  • Fruit/genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Secondary Metabolism
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Transcriptome
  • Developmental stages
  • Secondary metabolite
  • RNA-Seq
  • Black pepper
  • Fruits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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