U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Phytochemistry 79 (2012) 57–66



U.S. government work


Natural rubber biosynthesis in guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray) is associated with moderately cold night temperatures. To begin to dissect the molecular events triggered by cold temperatures that govern rubber synthesis induction in guayule, the transcriptome of bark tissue, where rubber is produced, was investigated. A total of 11,748 quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained. The vast majority of ESTs encoded proteins that are similar to stress-related proteins, whereas those encoding rubber biosynthesis- related proteins comprised just over one percent of the ESTs. Sequence information derived from the ESTs was used to design primers for quantitative analysis of the expression of genes that encode selected enzymes and proteins with potential impact on rubber biosynthesis in field-grown guayule plants, including 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase, squalene synthase, small rubber particle protein, allene oxide synthase, and cis-prenyl transferase. Gene expression was studied for field-grown plants during the normal course of seasonal variation in temperature (monthly average maximum 41.7 °C to minimum 0 °C, from November 2005 through March 2007) and rubber transferase enzymatic activity was also evaluated. Levels of gene expression did not correlate with air temperatures nor with rubber transferase activity. Interestingly, a sudden increase in night temperature 10 days before harvest took place in advance of the highest CPT gene expression level.