The role of phloem sieve elements and laticifers in the biosynthesis and accumulation of alkaloids in opium poppy

Nailish Samanani, Joenel Alcantara, Richard Bourgault, Katherine G Zulak, Peter J Facchini
Plant Journal 2006, 47 (4): 547-63
The benzylisoquinoline alkaloids of opium poppy, including the narcotic analgesics morphine and codeine, accumulate in the multinucleate cytoplasm of specialized laticifers that accompany vascular tissues throughout the plant. In mature opium poppy plants, immunofluorescence labeling using specific antibodies showed that four alkaloid biosynthetic enzymes, (S)-norcoclaurine 6-O-methyltransferase (6OMT), (S)-coclaurine N-methyltransferase (CNMT), (S)-3'-hydroxy-N-methylcoclaurine-4'-O-methyltransferase (4'OMT) and salutaridinol-7-O-acetyltransferase (SAT) were restricted to sieve elements of the phloem adjacent or proximal to laticifers. The identity of sieve elements was confirmed by (i) the specific immunogold labeling of the characteristic cytoplasm of this cell type, (ii) the co-localization of a sieve element-specific H(+)-ATPase with all biosynthetic enzymes and (iii) the strict association of sieve plates with immunofluorescent cells. The localization of laticifers was demonstrated antibodies specific to major latex protein (MLP), which is characteristic of this cell type. In situ hybridization using antisense RNA probes for 6OMT, CNMT, 4'OMT and SAT showed that the corresponding gene transcripts were found in the companion cell paired with each sieve element. Seven benzylisoquinoline alkaloid biosynthetic enzymes, (S)-N-methylcoclaurine 3'-hydroxylase (CYP80B1), berberine bridge enzyme, codeinone reductase, 6OMT, CNMT, 4'OMT and SAT were localized by immunofluorescence labeling to the sieve elements in the root and hypocotyl of opium poppy seedlings. The abundance of these enzymes increased rapidly between 1 and 3 days after seed germination. The localization of seven biosynthetic enzymes to the sieve elements provides strong support for the unique, cell type-specific biosynthesis of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids in the opium poppy.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"