Still stable after 11 years: A Catharanthus roseus Hairy root line maintains inducible expression of anthranilate synthase



Hairy root cultures generated using Agrobacterium rhizogenes are an extensively investigated system for the overproduction of various secondary metabolite based pharmaceuticals and chemicals. This study demonstrated a transgenic Catharanthus roseus hairy root line carrying a feedback-insensitive anthranilate synthase (AS) maintained chemical and genetic stability for 11 years. The AS gene was originally inserted in the hairy root genome under the control of a glucocorticoid inducible promoter. After 11 years continuous maintenance of this hairy root line, genomic PCR of the ASA gene showed the presence of ASA gene in the genome. The mRNA level of AS was induced to 52-fold after feeding the inducer as compared to the uninduced control. The AS enzyme activity was 18.4 nmol/(min*mg) in the induced roots as compared to 2.1 nmol/(min*mg) in the control. In addition, the changes in terpenoid indole alkaloid concentrations after overexpressing AS were tracked over 11 years. The major alkaloid levels in induced and control roots at 11 years are comparable with the metabolite levels at 5 years. This study demonstrates the long term genetic and biochemical stability of hairy root lines, which has important implications for industrial scale applications. © 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 33:66–69, 2017