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Biotechnology and bioengineering

Effects of terpenoid precursor feeding on Catharanthus roseus hairy roots over-expressing the alpha or the alpha and beta subunits of anthranilate synthase.


PMID 16240438

Abstract

Among the pharmacologically important terpenoid indole alkaloids produced by Catharanthus roseus are the anti-cancer drugs vinblastine and vincristine. These two drugs are produced in small yields within the plant, which makes them expensive to produce commercially. Metabolic engineering has focused on increasing flux through this pathway by various means such as elicitation, precursor feeding, and introduction of genes encoding specific metabolic enzymes into the plant. Recently in our lab, a feedback-resistant anthranilate synthase alpha subunit was over-expressed in C. roseus hairy roots under the control of a glucocorticoid inducible promoter system. Upon induction we observed a large increase in the indole precursors, tryptophan, and tryptamine. The current work explores the effects of over-expressing the anthranilate synthase alpha or alpha and beta subunits in combination with feeding with the terpenoid precursors 1-deoxy-D-xylulose, loganin, and secologanin. In feeding 1-deoxy-D-xylulose to the hairy root line expressing the anthranilate synthase alpha subunit, we observed an increase of 125% in hörhammericine levels in the induced samples, while loganin feeding increased catharanthine by 45% in the induced samples. Loganin feeding to the hairy root line expressing anthranilate synthase alpha and beta subunits increases catharanthine by 26%, ajmalicine by 84%, lochnericine by 119%, and tabersonine by 225% in the induced samples. These results suggest that the terpenoid precursors to the terpenoid indole alkaloids are important factors in terpenoid indole alkaloid production.

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