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Keywords:

  • strictosidine synthase;
  • strictosidine glucosidase;
  • oxidative stress;
  • oxindole alkaloids;
  • Uncaria tomentosa

The activity and gene expression of strictosidine-related enzymes in Uncaria tomentosa root cultures exposed to oxidative stress were studied. Elicitation with 0.2 mM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or a combination of 0.8 mM buthionine sulfoximine and 0.2 mM jasmonic acid (BSO-JA) increased peroxidase activities by twofold at Day 8 and glutathione reductase by 1.4-fold at Day 5 in H2O2 elicited cultures respect to the control. Production of monoterpenoid oxindole alkaloids (MOA), 3α-dihydrocadambine, and dolichantoside was stimulated after H2O2 elicitation, reaching levels of 886.4 ± 23.6, 847.7 ± 25.4, and 87.5 ± 7.2 µg/g DW, at Day 8 which were 1.7-, 2.1-, and 2.3-fold higher relative to control. BSO-JA elicited cultures produced about twice alkaloids than H2O2-treated cultures, following a biphasic pattern with maxima at 0.5 and 8 days. Alkaloid production was preceded by increase in strictosidine synthase (STR) and strictosidine glucosidase (SGD) activities. After elicitation with H2O2 or BSO-JA, the STR activity (pKat/mg protein) increased by 1.9-fold (93.8 ± 17.8 at 24 h) or 2.5-fold (102.4 ± 2.2 at 6 h) and the SGD activity (pKat/mg protein) by 2.8-fold (245.2 ± 14.4 at 6 h) or 4.2-fold (421.2 ± 1.8 at 18 h) relative to control. STR and SGD transcripts were upregulated after elicitation. H2O2-treated roots showed higher levels of STR at 48–192 h and SGD at 24–48 h, while BSO-JA treatments showed STR increased at 12 h and SGD at 24 h. Also, LC/ESI-MS confirmed the biosynthesis of dolichantoside from N-ω-methyltryptamine and secologanin by U. tomentosa protein extracts. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:621–630, 2013