Glandular trichomes play important roles in protecting plants from biotic attack by producing defensive compounds. We investigated the metabolic profiles and transcriptomes to characterize the differences between different glandular trichome types in several domesticated and wild Solanum species: Solanum lycopersicum (glandular trichome types 1, 6, and 7), Solanum habrochaites (types 1, 4, and 6), Solanum pennellii (types 4 and 6), Solanum arcanum (type 6), and Solanum pimpinellifolium (type 6). Substantial chemical differences in and between Solanum species and glandular trichome types are likely determined by the regulation of metabolism at several levels. Comparison of S. habrochaites type 1 and 4 glandular trichomes revealed few differences in chemical content or transcript abundance, leading to the conclusion that these two glandular trichome types are the same and differ perhaps only in stalk length. The observation that all of the other species examined here contain either type 1 or 4 trichomes (not both) supports the conclusion that these two trichome types are the same. Most differences in metabolites between type 1 and 4 glands on the one hand and type 6 glands on the other hand are quantitative but not qualitative. Several glandular trichome types express genes associated with photosynthesis and carbon fixation, indicating that some carbon destined for specialized metabolism is likely fixed within the trichome secretory cells. Finally, Solanum type 7 glandular trichomes do not appear to be involved in the biosynthesis and storage of specialized metabolites and thus likely serve another unknown function, perhaps as the site of the synthesis of protease inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science