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      Biological ingredient analysis of traditional Chinese medicine preparation based on high-throughput sequencing: the story for Liuwei Dihuang Wan

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          Abstract

          Although Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparations have long history with successful applications, the scientific and systematic quality assessment of TCM preparations mainly focuses on chemical constituents and is far from comprehensive. There are currently only few primitive studies on assessment of biological ingredients in TCM preparations. Here, we have proposed a method, M-TCM, for biological assessment of the quality of TCM preparations based on high-throughput sequencing and metagenomic analysis. We have tested this method on Liuwei Dihuang Wan (LDW), a TCM whose ingredients have been well-defined. Our results have shown that firstly, this method could determine the biological ingredients of LDW preparations. Secondly, the quality and stability of LDW varies significantly among different manufacturers. Thirdly, the overall quality of LDW samples is significantly affected by their biological contaminations. This novel strategy has the potential to achieve comprehensive ingredient profiling of TCM preparations.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Validation of the ITS2 Region as a Novel DNA Barcode for Identifying Medicinal Plant Species

          Background The plant working group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life recommended the two-locus combination of rbcL + matK as the plant barcode, yet the combination was shown to successfully discriminate among 907 samples from 550 species at the species level with a probability of 72%. The group admits that the two-locus barcode is far from perfect due to the low identification rate, and the search is not over. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we compared seven candidate DNA barcodes (psbA-trnH, matK, rbcL, rpoC1, ycf5, ITS2, and ITS) from medicinal plant species. Our ranking criteria included PCR amplification efficiency, differential intra- and inter-specific divergences, and the DNA barcoding gap. Our data suggest that the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) of nuclear ribosomal DNA represents the most suitable region for DNA barcoding applications. Furthermore, we tested the discrimination ability of ITS2 in more than 6600 plant samples belonging to 4800 species from 753 distinct genera and found that the rate of successful identification with the ITS2 was 92.7% at the species level. Conclusions The ITS2 region can be potentially used as a standard DNA barcode to identify medicinal plants and their closely related species. We also propose that ITS2 can serve as a novel universal barcode for the identification of a broader range of plant taxa.
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            Comparative analysis of a large dataset indicates that internal transcribed spacer (ITS) should be incorporated into the core barcode for seed plants.

            A two-marker combination of plastid rbcL and matK has previously been recommended as the core plant barcode, to be supplemented with additional markers such as plastid trnH-psbA and nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS). To assess the effectiveness and universality of these barcode markers in seed plants, we sampled 6,286 individuals representing 1,757 species in 141 genera of 75 families (42 orders) by using four different methods of data analysis. These analyses indicate that (i) the three plastid markers showed high levels of universality (87.1-92.7%), whereas ITS performed relatively well (79%) in angiosperms but not so well in gymnosperms; (ii) in taxonomic groups for which direct sequencing of the marker is possible, ITS showed the highest discriminatory power of the four markers, and a combination of ITS and any plastid DNA marker was able to discriminate 69.9-79.1% of species, compared with only 49.7% with rbcL + matK; and (iii) where multiple individuals of a single species were tested, ascriptions based on ITS and plastid DNA barcodes were incongruent in some samples for 45.2% of the sampled genera (for genera with more than one species sampled). This finding highlights the importance of both sampling multiple individuals and using markers with different modes of inheritance. In cases where it is difficult to amplify and directly sequence ITS in its entirety, just using ITS2 is a useful backup because it is easier to amplify and sequence this subset of the marker. We therefore propose that ITS/ITS2 should be incorporated into the core barcode for seed plants.
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              Use of ITS2 Region as the Universal DNA Barcode for Plants and Animals

              Background The internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA is regarded as one of the candidate DNA barcodes because it possesses a number of valuable characteristics, such as the availability of conserved regions for designing universal primers, the ease of its amplification, and sufficient variability to distinguish even closely related species. However, a general analysis of its ability to discriminate species in a comprehensive sample set is lacking. Methodology/Principal Findings In the current study, 50,790 plant and 12,221 animal ITS2 sequences downloaded from GenBank were evaluated according to sequence length, GC content, intra- and inter-specific divergence, and efficiency of identification. The results show that the inter-specific divergence of congeneric species in plants and animals was greater than its corresponding intra-specific variations. The success rates for using the ITS2 region to identify dicotyledons, monocotyledons, gymnosperms, ferns, mosses, and animals were 76.1%, 74.2%, 67.1%, 88.1%, 77.4%, and 91.7% at the species level, respectively. The ITS2 region unveiled a different ability to identify closely related species within different families and genera. The secondary structure of the ITS2 region could provide useful information for species identification and could be considered as a molecular morphological characteristic. Conclusions/Significance As one of the most popular phylogenetic markers for eukaryota, we propose that the ITS2 locus should be used as a universal DNA barcode for identifying plant species and as a complementary locus for CO1 to identify animal species. We have also developed a web application to facilitate ITS2-based cross-kingdom species identification (http://its2-plantidit.dnsalias.org).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                03 June 2014
                2014
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Materia Medica, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences , Jinan, Shandong, 250062, China
                [2 ]Shandong Key Laboratory of Energy Genetics, CAS Key Laboratory of Biofuels and Bioinformatics Group of SingleCell Center, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology , Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266101, China
                [3 ]School of Medicine and Life Sciences, , University of Jinan-Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Jinan 250062, China
                [4 ]These authors contributed equally to this work.
                Author notes
                Article
                srep05147
                10.1038/srep05147
                4042125
                24888649
                Copyright © 2014, Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The images in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the image credit; if the image is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the image. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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