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Title: Metabolomic profiling of the nectars of Aquilegia pubescens and A. Canadensis

To date, variation in nectar chemistry of flowering plants has not been studied in detail. Such variation exerts considerable influence on pollinator–plant interactions, as well as on flower traits that play important roles in the selection of a plant for visitation by specific pollinators. Over the past 60 years the Aquilegia genus has been used as a key model for speciation studies. In this study, we defined the metabolomic profiles of flower samples of two Aquilegia species, A. Canadensis and A. pubescens. We identified a total of 75 metabolites that were classified into six main categories: organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids, esters, sugars, and unknowns. The mean abundances of 25 of these metabolites were significantly different between the two species, providing insights into interspecies variation in floral chemistry. Using the PlantSEED biochemistry database, we found that the majority of these metabolites are involved in biosynthetic pathways. Finally, we explored the annotated genome of A. coerulea, using the PlantSEED pipeline and reconstructed the metabolic network of Aquilegia. As a result, this network, which contains the metabolic pathways involved in generating the observed chemical variation, is now publicly available from the DOE Systems Biology Knowledge Base (KBase;
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Cold Spring Harbor Lab., Cold Spring Harbor, NY (United States)
  2. Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States). W.M. Keck Metabolomics Research Laboratory.
  3. Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States). W.M. Keck Metabolomics Research Laboratory, and Dept. of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology.
  4. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Mathematics and Computer Science Div.; The Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States). Computation Institute.
  5. Cold Spring Harbor Lab., Cold Spring Harbor, NY (United States); USDA-ARS-NAA, Ithaca, NY (United States). Robert W. Holley Center.
  6. National Research Council of Italy (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357; AC02-98CH10886
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Public Library of Science
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; metabolites; metabolic pathways; metabolic networks; organic acids; flowering plants; genomic databases; glucose metabolism; sucrose; esters