Transcript profiling of terpenoid indole alkaloid pathway genes and regulators reveals strong expression of repressors in Catharanthus roseus cell cultures

Ajaswrata Dutta, Digvijay Singh, Sushil Kumar, Jayanti Sen
Plant Cell Reports 2007, 26 (7): 907-15
The understanding of the complexities and molecular events regulating genes and the activators involved in terpenoid indole alkaloid (TIA) metabolism is known to a certain extent in cell cultures of an important TIA yielding plant, Catharanthus roseus, though it is not yet complete. Recently, the repressors of early TIA pathway genes have also been identified. However, their roles in the regulation of TIA pathway in C. roseus cell cultures remains yet unknown. We have made a comparative profiling of genes catalyzing the important steps of 2-C methyl-D-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP), shikimate and TIA biosynthetic pathways, their activator and repressors using macroarray, semiquantitative RT-PCR and northern analyses in a rotation culture system of C. roseus comprising differentiated and proliferated cells. Our results demonstrate that TIA biosynthetic pathway genes and their activators show variable expression pattern, which was correlated with the changes in the cellular conditions in these systems. Under similar conditions, TIA pathway repressors show strong and consistent expression. The role of repressors in the complex regulation of the TIA pathway in C. roseus cell cultures is discussed. The results were supported by HPLC data, which demonstrated that the molecular program of cellular differentiation is intimately linked with TIA pathway gene expression and TIA production in C. roseus cell cultures.

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