[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS) and Cyt P450 monooxygenase (CYP71AV1) in Artemisia annua L. are two key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of artemisinin. The promoters of ADS and CYP71AV1 contain E-box elements, which are putative binding sites for basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors. This study
successfully isolated a bHLH transcription factor gene from A. annua, designated as AabHLH1, from a cDNA library of the glandular secretory trichomes (GSTs) in which artemisinin is synthesized and sequestered. AabHLH1 encodes a protein of 650 amino acids containing one putative bHLH domain. AabHLH1 and ADS genes were strongly induced by ABA and the fungal elicitor, chitosan. The transient expression analysis of the AabHLH1–green
fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene revealed that AabHLH1 was targeted to nuclei. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that
the AabHLH1 protein was capable of binding to the E-box cis-elements, present in both ADS and CYP71AV1 promoters, and possessed transactivation activity in yeast. In addition, transient co-transformation of AabHLH1 and CYP71AV1Pro::GUS in A. annua leaves showed a significant activation of the expression of the GUS (β-glucuronidase) gene in transformed A. annua, but mutation of the E-boxes resulted in abolition of activation, suggesting that the E-box is important for the CYP71AV1 promoter activity. Furthermore, transient expression of AabHLH1 in A. annua leaves increased transcript levels of the genes involved in artemisinin biosynthesis, such as ADS, CYP71AV1 and HMGR. These results suggest that AabHLH1 can positively regulate the biosynthesis of artemisinin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lonicera japonica is used in Chinese medicine as a source of antioxidants, primarily flavonoids, and a phenolic acid chlorogenic acid (CGA). Here we report the isolation and characterization of the full-length cDNA of LjC3H, a gene encoding p-coumaroyl ester 3-hydroxylase, an enzyme involved in CGA synthesis. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that is protein belongs to the CYP98A subfamily, and homology modeling revealed that its structure resembles that of other cytochrome P450 family proteins. Southern blot analysis indicated that more than one copy of sequences homologous to LjC3H is present in the L. japonica genome. Heterologous expression of LjC3H cDNA in Escherichia coli allowed an in vitro assay of LjC3H to be performed. This experiment revealed that the enzyme favors p-coumaroylshikimate over p-coumaroylquinate as substrate. LjC3H transcript abundance was increased both by treatment of the leaves with methyl jasmonate and by exposure to UV-B radiation. The CGA levels in the leaves of L. japonica were positively correlated with LjC3H transcript abundance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well known in the literature that cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) reduces hydroxycinnamyl aldehydes, such as coumaryl, coniferyl, and sinapyl aldehydes, to their corresponding alcohols in the presence of NADPH, and these alcohols act as the precursors of lignin biosynthesis. Here, we report the isolation of a cDNA encoding an NADP(+)-dependent CAD, designated as AaCAD, from the cDNA library using glandular secretory trichomes of Artemisia annua as the source of mRNA. A phylogenetic analysis indicated that AaCAD was clustered with AtCAD4 and AtCAD5, which were involved in monolignol biosynthesis from Arabidopsis. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that the AaCAD transcript was abundant mostly in leaf and root, followed by flower, and lowest in stem. Functional and enzymatic assays showed that the recombinant enzyme was able to reversibly reduce a variety of common CADs substrates, namely geranial, cinnamyl aldehyde, sinapyl aldehyde, coniferyl aldehyde, and a sesquiterpenoid artemisinic aldehyde, to geraniol, cinnamyl alcohol, sinapyl alcohol, coniferyl alcohol, and artemisinic alcohol respectively. Besides, considering that AaCAD was identified from the glandular secretory trichomes of A. annua, and that the recombinant enzyme exhibited reductase activity by using artemisinic aldehyde as substrate, some possible role of AaCAD in artemisinin biosynthesis is also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a rapid and simple method for isolating the 5'-end of plant genes from genomic DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with TATA-box-based degenerate primers (TDPs). The TDPs were specially designed according to the TATA box, which is conserved in the promoter region of most plant genes. The unknown 5'-ends of several genes in different plants were isolated by PCR with gene-specific primers of the known core fragment and the TDPs. Our method does not require the arduous RNA manipulations and expensive enzyme treatments of the popular rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and its variants, and so could be a cheap practical alternative.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been much interest in artemisinin owing to its excellent activity against malaria, an infectious disease threatening the tropical world. However, the low artemisinin content (0.01–0.8%, DW) in Artemisia annua, which is the only commercial source of artemisinin, makes artemisinin expensive to produce and not yet available on a global scale. Here we show that foliar application of 100mgl−1 chitosan improved artemisinin biosynthesis in A. annua. The content of dihydroartemisinic acid and artemisinin in chitosan-treated leaves increased by 72% and 53% compared with control values, respectively. Chitosan induced the expression of ADS and DBR2, which could explain the increase in level of artemisinic metabolites. After chitosan treatment, the amounts of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide anion (O2−) in leaves of A. annua were 1.4 and 3.0 times higher than those of the control, respectively. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) probably accelerated the conversion of dihydroartemisinic acid to artemisinin. Foliar application of 100mgl−1 chitosan had no harmful effect on A. annua growth. The simple method described here could be an effective method to improve artemisinin production in A. annua field cultivation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS) of Artemisia annua catalyzes the conversion of farnesyl diphosphate into amorpha-4,11-diene, the first committed step in the biosynthesis of the antimalarial drug artemisinin. The promoters of ADS contain two reverse-oriented TTGACC W-box cis-acting elements, which are the proposed binding sites of WRKY transcription factors. A full-length cDNA (AaWRKY1) was isolated from a cDNA library of the glandular secretory trichomes (GSTs) in which artemisinin is synthesized and sequestered. AaWRKY1 encodes a 311 amino acid protein containing a single WRKY domain. AaWRKY1 and ADS genes were highly expressed in GSTs and both were strongly induced by methyl jasmonate and chitosan. Transient expression analysis of the AaWRKY1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) reporter revealed that AaWRKY1 was targeted to nuclei. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that the AaWRKY1 protein was capable of binding to the W-box cis-acting elements of the ADS promoters, and it demonstrated transactivation activity in yeast. Co-expression of the effector construct 35S::AaWRKY1 with a reporter construct ADSpro1::GUS greatly activated expression of the GUS (beta-glucuronidase) gene in stably transformed tobacco. Furthermore, transient expression experiments in agroinfiltrated Nicotiana benthamiana and A. annua leaves showed that AaWRKY1 protein transactivated the ADSpro2 promoter activity by binding to the W-box of the promoter; disruption of the W-box abolished the activation. Transient expression of AaWRKY1 cDNA in A. annua leaves clearly activated the expression of the majority of artemisinin biosynthetic genes. These results strongly suggest the involvement of the AaWRKY1 transcription factor in the regulation of artemisinin biosynthesis, and indicate that ADS is a target gene of AaWRKY1 in A. annua.