J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (2): 136-143.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00024.x

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Metabolic Engineering of Tropane Alkaloid Biosynthesis in Plants

Lei ZHANG, Guo-Yin KAI, Bei-Bei LU, Han-Ming ZHANG, Ke-Xuan TANG, Ji-Hong JIANG and Wan-Sheng CHEN   

Abstract: Over the past decade, the evolving commercial importance of so-called plant secondary metabolites has resulted in a great interest in secondary metabolism and, particularly, in the possibilities to enhance the yield of fine metabolites by means of genetic engineering. Plant alkaloids, which constitute one of the largest groups of natural products, provide many pharmacologically active compounds. Several genes in the tropane alkaloids biosynthesis pathways have been cloned, making the metabolic engineering of these alkaloids possible. The content of the target chemical scopolamine could be significantly increased by various approaches, such as introducing genes encoding the key biosynthetic enzymes or genes encoding regulatory proteins to overcome the specific rate-limiting steps. In addition, antisense genes have been used to block competitive pathways. These investigations have opened up new, promising perspectives for increased production in plants or plant cell culture. Recent achievements have been made in the metabolic engineering of plant tropane alkaloids and some new powerful strategies are reviewed in the present paper.

Key words: biosynthesis pathway, genetic transformation, hyoscyamine, plant secondary metabolic engineering, scopolamine, tropane alkaloids.

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