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Keywords:

  • PB90;
  • catharanthine;
  • abscisic acid (ABA);
  • nitric oxide (NO);
  • Catharanthus roseus cell suspension culture

Elicitations are considered to be an important strategy to improve production of secondary metabolites of plant cell cultures. However, mechanisms responsible for the elicitor-induced production of secondary metabolites of plant cells have not yet been fully elucidated. Here, we report that treatment of Catharanthus roseus cell suspension cultures with PB90, a protein elicitor from Phytophthora boehmeriae, induced rapid increases of abscisic acid (ABA) and nitric oxide (NO), subsequently followed by the enhancement of catharanthine production and up-regulation of Str and Tdc, two important genes in catharanthine biosynthesis. PB90-induced catharanthine production and the gene expression were suppressed by the ABA inhibitor and NO scavenger respectively, showing that ABA and NO are essential for the elicitor-induced catharanthine biosynthesis. The relationship between ABA and NO in mediating catharanthine biosynthesis was further investigated. Treatment of the cells with ABA triggered NO accumulation and induced catharanthine production and up-regulation of Str and Tdc. ABA-induced catharanthine production and gene expressions were suppressed by the NO scavenger. Conversely, exogenous application of NO did not stimulate ABA generation and treatment with ABA inhibitor did not suppress NO-induced catharanthine production and gene expressions. Together, the results showed that both NO and ABA were involved in PB90-induced catharanthine biosynthesis of C. roseus cells. Furthermore, our data demonstrated that ABA acted upstream of NO in the signaling cascade leading to PB90-induced catharanthine biosynthesis of C. roseus cells. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:994–1001, 2013