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Open Access Research article

UV-B-induced signaling events leading to enhanced-production of catharanthine in Catharanthus roseus cell suspension cultures

Shilpa Ramani and Jayabaskaran Chelliah*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012, India

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BMC Plant Biology 2007, 7:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-7-61

Published: 7 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Elicitations are considered to be an important strategy towards improved in vitro production of secondary metabolites. In cell cultures, biotic and abiotic elicitors have effectively stimulated the production of plant secondary metabolites. However, molecular basis of elicitor-signaling cascades leading to increased production of secondary metabolites of plant cell is largely unknown. Exposure of Catharanthus roseus cell suspension culture to low dose of UV-B irradiation was found to increase the amount of catharanthine and transcription of genes encoding tryptophan decarboxylase (Tdc) and strictosidine synthase (Str). In the present study, the signaling pathway mediating UV-B-induced catharanthine accumulation in C. roseus suspension cultures were investigated.

Results

Here, we investigate whether cell surface receptors, medium alkalinization, Ca2+ influx, H2O2, CDPK and MAPK play required roles in UV-B signaling leading to enhanced production of catharanthine in C. roseus cell suspension cultures. C. roseus cells were pretreated with various agonists and inhibitors of known signaling components and their effects on the accumulation of Tdc and Str transcripts as well as amount of catharanthine production were investigated by various molecular biology techniques. It has been found that the catharanthine accumulation and transcription of Tdc and Str were inhibited by 3–4 fold upon pretreatment of various inhibitors like suramin, N-acetyl cysteine, inhibitors of calcium fluxes, staurosporine etc.

Conclusion

Our results demonstrate that cell surface receptor(s), Ca2+ influx, medium alkalinization, CDPK, H2O2 and MAPK play significant roles in UV-B signaling leading to stimulation of Tdc and Str genes and the accumulation of catharanthine in C. roseus cell suspension cultures. Based on these findings, a model for signal transduction cascade has been proposed.