A blood pressure-lowering effect of asparagus

August 11, 2021

The usefulness of asparaptine A for medicinal purposes and health maintenance

Using a new metabolomics approach, researchers at RIKEN CSRS have characterized the biosynthetic pathway of the asparagus compound called asparaptine A. Along with identifying intermediates in the pathway, they also discovered two asparaptine analogs and demonstrated that asparaptine A can lower blood-pressure.

The joint research group developed a new method for simultaneously analyzing the similarity of MS/MS spectra between 13C-labeled and non-labeled metabolome data. The metabolomes of asparagus calluses cultured with 13C-labeled valine and calluses cultured under normal conditions were measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Then, a network analysis using the similarity score of MS/MS spectra was performed on paired ions derived from the 13C-labeled and non-labeled metabolites. The group found the following: (1) the biosynthesis of asparaptine A begins with the amino acid valine; (2) S-(2-carboxy-n-propyl)-l-cysteine is an intermediate compound that is formed along the pathway; (3) asparaptine has two structural analogs that were previously unknown (now called asparaptine B and asparaptine C); (4) asparaptine A can lower blood pressure in a mouse model of hypertension.

The results of this study might lead to the breeding of asparagus that contains greater amounts of asparaptine A, which could help us maintain our daily health and be used for medicinal purposes.


Original article
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.1c01183
R. Nakabayashi, Y. Yamada, T. Nishizawa, T. Mori, T. Asano, M. Kuwabara, K. Saito,
"Tandem Mass Spectrum Similarity-Based Network Analysis Using 13C-Labeled and Non-labeled Metabolome Data to Identify the Biosynthetic Pathway of the Blood Pressure-Lowering Asparagus Metabolite Asparaptine A".

Ryo Nakabayashi; Visiting Scientist
Kazuki Saito; Group Director
Metabolomics Research Group