J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (7): 961-974.DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00457.x

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Terpenoid Indole Alkaloids Biosynthesis and Metabolic Engineering in Catharanthus roseus

Dong-Hui Liu, Hong-Bin Jin, Yu-Hui Chen, Li-Jie Cui, Wei-Wei Ren, Yi-Fu Gong and Ke-Xuan Tang   

Abstract: Catharanthus roseus L. (Madagascar periwinkle) biosynthesizes a diverse array of secondary metabolites including anticancer dimeric alkaloids (vinblastine and vincristine) and antihypertensive alkaloids (ajmalicine and serpentine). The multi-step terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs) biosynthetic pathway in C. roseus is complex and is under strict molecular regulation. Many enzymes and genes involved in the TIAs biosynthesis have been studied in recent decades. Moreover, some regulatory proteins were found recently to control the production of TIAs in C. roseus. Based on mastering the rough scheme of the pathway and cloning the related genes, metabolic engineering of TIAs biosynthesis has been studied in C. roseus aiming at increasing the desired secondary metabolites in the past few years. The present article summarizes recent advances in isolation and characterization of TIAs biosynthesis genes and transcriptional regulators involved in the second metabolic control in C. roseus. Metabolic engineering applications in TIAs pathway via overexpression of these genes and regulators in C. roseus are also discussed.

Key words: biosynthesis pathway, Catharanthus roseus, metabolic engineering, terpenoid indole alkaloids

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