Elicitor-induced tyrosine decarboxylase in berberine-synthesizing suspension cultures of Thalictrum rugosum


  • This paper is dedicated to Professor Nathan 0. Kaplan (1922-1986)

Correspondence to P. Brodelius, Institut für Biotechnologie der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule, ETH-Hönggerberg, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland


Tyrosine decarboxylase (EC was induced in suspension cultures of Thalictrum rugosum by treatment with a yeast glucan elicitor. Maximum induction was observed at a carbohydrate concentration of 0.4 mg/g fresh weight of cells and maximum enzyme activity was reached 20 h after addition of elicitor. The enzyme was inducible in late exponential and early stationary growth phases. A good correlation between induced tyrosine decarboxylase activity and berberine biosynthesis has been established. It is suggested that tyrosine decarboxylase may be a key enzyme between primary and secondary metabolisms in the biosynthesis of norlaudanosoline-derived alkaloids.