Highly accurate whole genome sequence was revealed for Ophiorrhiza pumila, a plant producing anti-cancer substance

January 18, 2021

Expectation for sustainable production of anticancer substances from a viewpoint of how genome evolves to be responsible for plant alkaloid biosynthesis

A research team of Chiba University, RIKEN CSRS, Kazusa DNA Research Institute, and National Institute of Genetics revealed a highly accurate whole genome sequence at the chromosome level for Ophiorrhiza pumila, a medicinal resource plant which produces camptothecin used as an anticancer drug. The group also made a comparison with the genome of other plants and revealed how the capacity has evolved to produce camptothecin and related compounds.

The study results may resolve a fundamental question on how a certain plant has acquired an ability to produce a medicinal product, and contribute to sustainable production of the active ingredient of the anti-cancer drug (camptothecin) in the future.


Original article
Nature Communications doi:10.1038/s41467-020-20508-2
A. Rai, H. Hirakawa, R. Nakabayashi, S. Kikuchi, K. Hayashi, M. Rai, H. Tsugawa, T. Nakaya, T. Mori, H. Nagasaki, R. Fukushi, Y. Kusuya, H. Takahashi, H. Uchiyama, A. Toyoda, S. Hikosaka, E. Goto, K. Saito, M. Yamazaki,
"Chromosome-level genome assembly of Ophiorrhiza pumila reveals the evolution of camptothecin biosynthesis".

Kazuki Saito
Group Director
Metabolomics Research Group