JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Enzymology of indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus

N Misra, R Luthra, S Kumar
Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics 1996, 33 (4): 261-73
8936815
Indole alkaloids in Catharanthus roseus have been in focus because of their medicinal value. These alkaloids consist of an indole moiety provided by tryptamine and a terpenoid portion provided by the secologanin. The most important catharanthus alkaloids are vinblastine (VLB), vincristine (VCR) and ajmalicine. VLB and VCR are clinically useful anticancer agents whereas ajmalicine is used for the treatment of circulatory diseases. VCR and VLB are the most expensive because of their low abundance in the plant, and are formed by the coupling of monomeric indole alkaloids vindoline and catharanthine, catalysed by peroxidases. The pathway that lead to monomeric indole alkaloids involves more than 20 enzymes of which 16 enzymes have been isolated and characterized biochemically, and only three at the molecular level. The present state of knowledge on enzymes and genes involved in indole alkaloid biosynthesis and various aspects of their regulation has been discussed.

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