PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
Herbal remedies are increasingly being recognised in recent years as alternative medicine for a number of diseases including cancer. Curcuma longa L., commonly known as turmeric is used as a culinary spice in India and in many Asian countries has been attributed to lower incidences of gastrointestinal cancers. Curcumin, a secondary metabolite isolated from the rhizomes of this plant has been shown to have significant anticancer properties, in addition to antimalarial and antioxidant effects. We sequenced the transcriptome of the rhizome of the 3 varieties of Curcuma longa L. using Illumina reversible dye terminator sequencing followed by de novo transcriptome assembly. Multiple databases were used to obtain a comprehensive annotation and the transcripts were functionally classified using GO, KOG and PlantCyc. Special emphasis was given for annotating the secondary metabolite pathways and terpenoid biosynthesis pathways. We report for the first time, the presence of transcripts related to biosynthetic pathways of several anti-cancer compounds like taxol, curcumin, and vinblastine in addition to anti-malarial compounds like artemisinin and acridone alkaloids, emphasizing turmeric's importance as a highly potent phytochemical. Our data not only provides molecular signatures for several terpenoids but also a comprehensive molecular resource for facilitating deeper insights into the transcriptome of C. longa.