Focusing on the role of cell differentiation in metabolism

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March 22, 2024

Analyzing the initiation process of alkaloid biosynthesis in seed germination of Catharanthus roseus

A joint research group of the RIKEN CSRS, Yokohama City University, Kyoto University of Advanced Sciences, Kobe University, Kyoto University, and others revealed the initiation process of alkaloid biosynthesis in embryos from seeds of a medicinal plant, Catharanthus roseus (C. roseus), suggesting that cell differentiation might play a significant role in alkaloid metabolism.

Plants produce and accumulate various specialized metabolites, many of which play significant roles as medicines or luxury grocery items in human living. Many of specialized metabolites are known to be biosynthesized and/or accumulated in specific cells, but their mechanisms have yet to be unveiled. In this study, the research group revealed the intracellular changes of embryos during seed germination, the initiation process of alkaloid biosynthesis, and the cellular localization of alkaloids in C. roseus, which biosynthesizes alkaloids valuable for anticancer drugs and others in a cell type-specific manner.

These findings would lead to a better understanding of the biosynthesis of the plant’s alkaloids, which are vital for antitumor agents and other drugs, and its regulatory mechanisms. They would contribute to the development of biosynthesis technology using plants and their cells.

Original article
New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.19662
M. Uzaki, T. Mori, M. Sato, M. Wakazaki, N. Takeda-Kamiya, K. Yamamoto, A. Murakami, D. A. S. Guerrero, C. Shichijo, M. Ohnishi, K. Ishizaki, H. Fukaki, S. E. O'Connor, K. Toyooka, T. Mimura, M. Y. Hirai,
"Integration of cell differentiation and initiation of monoterpenoid indole alkaloid metabolism in seed germination of Catharanthus roseus".
Mai Uzaki; Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Masami Hirai; Team Leader
Metabolic Systems Research Team