Metabolic, biochemical and molecular profiling of Catharanthus roseus flower cultivars and transformed hairy roots for monoterpenoid indole alkaloid accumulation /
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Catharanthlls rosellS (L.) G Don is a commercially significant flower species and in addition is the only source of the monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIA) vinblastine and vincristine, which are key pharmaceutical compounds that are used to combat a number of different cancers. Therefore, procurement of the antineoplastic agents is difficult but essential procedure. Alternatively, CatharanthllS tissue cultures have been investigated as a source of these agents; however they do not produce vindoline, which is an obligate precursor to vinblastine and vincristine. The interest in developing high MIA cultivars of Catharantlws rosellS has prompted metabolic profiling studies to determine the variability of MIA accumulation of existing flowering cultivars, with particular focus on the vindoline component ofthe pathway. Metabolic profiling studies that used high performance liquid chromatography of MIAs from seedlings and young leaf extracts from 50 different flowering cultivars showed that, except for a single low vindoline cultivar (Vinca Mediterranean DP Orchid), they all accumulate similar levels of MIAs. Further enzymatic studies with extracts from young leaves and from developing seedlings showed that the low vindoline cultivar has a IO-fold lower tabersonine-16-hydroxylase activity than those of CatharanthllS rosellS cv Little Delicata. Additionally, studies aimed at metabolic engineering ofvindoline bios}l1thesis in Catharanthus rosellS hairy root cultures have been performed by expressing the last step in vindoline biosynthesis [Dcacetylvindoline-4-0- acetyltransferase (DAT)]. Enzymatic profiling studies with transformed hairy roots have confirmed that over-expressing DAT leads to lines with high levels of O-acetyltransferase activity when compared to non-expressing hairy roots. One particular DA T over111 expressing hairy root culture (line 7) contained 200 times the OAT activity than leaves of control lines. Additional MIA analyses revealed that DAT over-expressing hairy roots have an altered alkaloid profile with significant variation in the accumulation of h6rhammericine. Further analysis of transformed hairy root line 7 suggests a correlation between the expression of OAT activity and h6rhammericine accumulation with root maturation. These studies show that metabolic and selective enzymatic profiling can enhance our ability to search for relevant MIA pathway mutants and that genetic engineering with appropriate pathway genes shows promise as a tool to modify the MIA profile of Catharanthus roseus.