Overexpression of allene oxide cyclase promoted tanshinone/phenolic acid production in Salvia miltiorrhiza

Xiao-Ce Gu, Jun-Feng Chen, Ying Xiao, Peng Di, Hong-Jiao Xuan, Xun Zhou, Lei Zhang, Wan-Sheng Chen
Plant Cell Reports 2012, 31 (12): 2247-59
This study provides a desirable candidate gene resource (SmAOC) to increase the content of valuable natural products via appropriate JA pathway genetic engineering. Jasmonates (JAs) are important signal molecules in plants. They regulate transcripts of defense and secondary biosynthetic metabolite genes in response to environmental stresses. Currently, JAs are widely used as elicitors to improve the content of useful secondary metabolism in plants. Synthesis of the naturally occurring enantiomer of various jasmonates is catalyzed by allene oxide cyclase (AOC, EC Here, we cloned and characterized the AOC gene (SmAOC) from Salvia miltiorrhiza. As expected, SmAOC expression was induced by abiotic stimuli such as methyl jasmonate (MeJA), ultraviolet radiation (UV) and low temperature (4 °C) in S. miltiorrhiza plantlets. To demonstrate whether the engineered internal JAs pool by overexpressing AOC gene could promote secondary metabolism production, the SmAOC was incorporated into S. miltiorrhiza hairy roots. The results revealed that SmAOC overexpression significant enhanced the yields of tanshinone IIA, rosmarinic acid (RA) and lithospermic acid B (LAB) in S. miltiorrhiza hairy roots. In addition, expression levels for key genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of diterpenes and phenolic acids were also altered. These suggest that genetic manipulation of AOC would be helpful for improving the production of valuable secondary metabolites by regulating the biosynthesis of JAs.

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