Characterization of lupeol, linalool, and squalene synthase expression within floral, leaf, and seed tissues of Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua
by Kathy O'Shea
Abstract – Camellia japonica (tsubaki) and Camellia sasanqua (sazanka) seed oils are both marketed as tsubaki oil, a traditional Japanese beauty product applied to the hair and face. However, differences in cosmeceutical benefits between C. sasanqua and C. japonica oils are not yet fully understood. Here we aim to characterize differences in expression of antioxidant-synthesizing enzymes between the sasanqua and tsubaki species of Camellia. Using semi-quantitative RT- PCR, we compared gene expression of linalool synthase, squalene synthase, and lupeol synthase from Camellia seeds, petals, and leaves. C. japonica had a greater expression of linalool synthase in seeds relative to C. sasanqua. Within C. japonica, linalool expression was greater in leaves than in seeds. Due to the challenges of degenerate primer design, primer efficiency varied for each of the three genes studied. Nevertheless, the results suggest there is a difference in expression, and possibly a difference in antioxidant profiles, between the two species commonly used for tsubaki oil. Better understanding the concentrations of secondary metabolites between species and tissues could lead to improving the quality and efficiency of C. japonica and C. sasanqua oils as cosmeceuticals.