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1.  Grapevine cell early activation of specific responses to DIMEB, a resveratrol elicitor 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:363.
In response to pathogen attack, grapevine synthesizes phytoalexins belonging to the family of stilbenes. Grapevine cell cultures represent a good model system for studying the basic mechanisms of plant response to biotic and abiotic elicitors. Among these, modified β-cyclodextrins seem to act as true elicitors inducing strong production of the stilbene resveratrol.
The transcriptome changes of Vitis riparia × Vitis berlandieri grapevine cells in response to the modified β-cyclodextrin, DIMEB, were analyzed 2 and 6 h after treatment using a suppression subtractive hybridization experiment and a microarray analysis respectively. At both time points, we identified a specific set of induced genes belonging to the general phenylpropanoid metabolism, including stilbenes and hydroxycinnamates, and to defence proteins such as PR proteins and chitinases. At 6 h we also observed a down-regulation of the genes involved in cell division and cell-wall loosening.
We report the first large-scale study of the molecular effects of DIMEB, a resveratrol inducer, on grapevine cell cultures. This molecule seems to mimic a defence elicitor which enhances the physical barriers of the cell, stops cell division and induces phytoalexin synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2743712  PMID: 19660119
2.  Dissecting the Transcriptional Response to Elicitors in Vitis vinifera Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109777.
The high effectiveness of cyclic oligosaccharides like cyclodextrins in the production of trans-resveratrol in Vitis vinifera cell cultures is enhanced in the presence of methyl jasmonate. In order to dissect the basis of the interactions among the elicitation responses triggered by these two compounds, a transcriptional analysis of grapevine cell cultures treated with cyclodextrins and methyl jasmonate separately or in combination was carried out. The results showed that the activation of genes encoding enzymes from phenylpropanoid and stilbene biosynthesis induced by cyclodextrins alone was partially enhanced in the presence of methyl jasmonate, which correlated with their effects on trans-resveratrol production. In addition, protein translation and cell cycle regulation were more highly repressed in cells treated with cyclodextrins than in those treated with methyl jasmonate, and this response was enhanced in the combined treatment. Ethylene signalling was activated by all treatments, while jasmonate signalling and salicylic acid conjugation were activated only in the presence of methyl jasmonate and cyclodextrins, respectively. Moreover, the combined treatment resulted in a crosstalk between the signalling cascades activated by cyclodextrins and methyl jasmonate, which, in turn, provoked the activation of additional regulatory pathways involving the up-regulation of MYB15, NAC and WRKY transcription factors, protein kinases and calcium signal transducers. All these results suggest that both elicitors cause an activation of the secondary metabolism in detriment of basic cell processes like the primary metabolism or cell division. Crosstalk between cyclodextrins and methyl jasmonate-induced signalling provokes an intensification of these responses resulting in a greater trans-resveratrol production.
PMCID: PMC4196943  PMID: 25314001
3.  Soybean and casein hydrolysates induce grapevine immune responses and resistance against Plasmopara viticola 
Plasmopara viticola, the causal agent of grapevine downy mildew, is one of the most devastating grape pathogen in Europe and North America. Although phytochemicals are used to control pathogen infections, the appearance of resistant strains and the concern for possible adverse effects on environment and human health are increasing the search for alternative strategies. In the present investigation, we successfully tested two protein hydrolysates from soybean (soy) and casein (cas) to trigger grapevine resistance against P. viticola. On Vitis vinifera cv. Marselan plants, the application of soy and cas reduced the infected leaf surface by 76 and 63%, as compared to the control, respectively. Since both hydrolysates might trigger the plant immunity, we investigated their ability to elicit grapevine defense responses. On grapevine cell suspensions, a different free cytosolic calcium signature was recorded for each hydrolysate, whereas a similar transient phosphorylation of two MAP kinases of 45 and 49 kDa was observed. These signaling events were followed by transcriptome reprogramming, including the up-regulation of defense genes encoding pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins and the stilbene synthase enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of resveratrol, the main grapevine phytoalexin. Liquid chromatography analyses confirmed the production of resveratrol and its dimer metabolites, δ- and ε-viniferins. Overall, soy effects were more pronounced as compared to the cas ones. Both hydrolysates proved to act as elicitors to enhance grapevine immunity against pathogen attack.
PMCID: PMC4274885  PMID: 25566290
protein hydrolysates; Plasmopara viticola; Vitis vinifera; induced resistance; plant immunity; phytoalexins
4.  Genetic diversity of stilbene metabolism in Vitis sylvestris  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2015;66(11):3243-3257.
We show that the ancestor of cultivated grapevine harbours genetic factors that increase the inducibility of stilbenes correlated with increased resistance to the important pathogen grapevine downy mildew.
Stilbenes, as important secondary metabolites of grapevine, represent central phytoalexins and therefore constitute an important element of basal immunity. In this study, potential genetic variation in Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris, the ancestor of cultivated grapevine, was sought with respect to their output of stilbenes and potential use for resistance breeding. Considerable variation in stilbene inducibility was identified in V. vinifera ssp. sylvestris. Genotypic differences in abundance and profiles of stilbenes that are induced in response to a UV-C pulse are shown. Two clusters of stilbene ‘chemovars’ emerged: one cluster showed quick and strong accumulation of stilbenes, almost exclusively in the form of non-glycosylated resveratrol and viniferin, while the second cluster accumulated fewer stilbenes and relatively high proportions of piceatannol and the glycosylated piceid. For all 86 genotypes, a time dependence of the stilbene pattern was observed: piceid, resveratrol, and piceatannol accumulated earlier, whereas the viniferins were found later. It was further observed that the genotypic differences in stilbene accumulation were preceded by differential accumulation of the transcripts for chalcone synthase (CHS) and stilbene-related genes: phenylalanine ammonium lyase (PAL), stilbene synthase (StSy), and resveratrol synthase (RS). A screen of the population with respect to susceptibility to downy mildew of grapevine (Plasmopara viticola) revealed considerable variability. The subpopulation of genotypes with high stilbene inducibility was significantly less susceptible as compared with low-stilbene genotypes, and for representative genotypes it could be shown that the inducibility of stilbene synthase by UV correlated with the inducibility by the pathogen.
PMCID: PMC4449542  PMID: 25873669
Basal immunity; breeding; defence; genetic diversity; grapevine (V. sylvestris); stilbenes; UV-C.
5.  The Phytoalexin Resveratrol Regulates the Initiation of Hypersensitive Cell Death in Vitis Cell 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26405.
Resveratrol is a major phytoalexin produced by plants in response to various stresses and promotes disease resistance. The resistance of North American grapevine Vitis rupestris is correlated with a hypersensitive reaction (HR), while susceptible European Vitis vinifera cv. ‘Pinot Noir’ does not exhibit HR, but expresses basal defence. We have shown previously that in cell lines derived from the two Vitis species, the bacterial effector Harpin induced a rapid and sensitive accumulation of stilbene synthase (StSy) transcripts, followed by massive cell death in V. rupestris. In the present work, we analysed the function of the phytoalexin resveratrol, the product of StSy. We found that cv. ‘Pinot Noir’ accumulated low resveratrol and its glycoside trans-piceid, whereas V. rupestris produced massive trans-resveratrol and the toxic oxidative δ-viniferin, indicating that the preferred metabolitism of resveratrol plays role in Vitis resistance. Cellular responses to resveratrol included rapid alkalinisation, accumulation of pathogenesis-related protein 5 (PR5) transcripts, oxidative burst, actin bundling, and cell death. Microtubule disruption and induction of StSy were triggered by Harpin, but not by resveratrol. Whereas most responses proceeded with different amplitude for the two cell lines, the accumulation of resveratrol, and the competence for resveratrol-induced oxidative burst differed in quality. The data lead to a model, where resveratrol, in addition to its classical role as antimicrobial phytoalexin, represents an important regulator for initiation of HR-related cell death.
PMCID: PMC3203900  PMID: 22053190
6.  Biosynthesis of plant-specific stilbene polyketides in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2006;6:22.
Phenylpropanoids are the precursors to a range of important plant metabolites such as the cell wall constituent lignin and the secondary metabolites belonging to the flavonoid/stilbene class of compounds. The latter class of plant natural products has been shown to function in a wide range of biological activities. During the last few years an increasing number of health benefits have been associated with these compounds. In particular, they demonstrate potent antioxidant activity and the ability to selectively inhibit certain tyrosine kinases. Biosynthesis of many medicinally important plant secondary metabolites, including stilbenes, is frequently not very well understood and under tight spatial and temporal control, limiting their availability from plant sources. As an alternative, we sought to develop an approach for the biosynthesis of diverse stilbenes by engineered recombinant microbial cells.
A pathway for stilbene biosynthesis was constructed in Escherichia coli with 4-coumaroyl CoA ligase 1 4CL1) from Arabidopsis thaliana and stilbene synthase (STS) cloned from Arachis hypogaea. E. coli cultures expressing these enzymes together converted the phenylpropionic acid precursor 4-coumaric acid, added to the growth medium, to the stilbene resveratrol (>100 mg/L). Caffeic acid, added in the same way, resulted in the production of the expected dihydroxylated stilbene, piceatannol (>10 mg/L). Ferulic acid, however, was not converted to the expected stilbene product, isorhapontigenin. Substitution of 4CL1 with a homologous enzyme, 4CL4, with a preference for ferulic acid over 4-coumaric acid, had no effect on the conversion of ferulic acid. Accumulation of tri- and tetraketide lactones from ferulic acid, regardless of the CoA-ligase expressed in E. coli, suggests that STS cannot properly accommodate and fold the tetraketide intermediate to the corresponding stilbene structure.
Phenylpropionic acids, such as 4-coumaric acid and caffeic acid, can be efficiently converted to stilbene compounds by recombinant E. coli cells expressing plant biosynthetic genes. Optimization of precursor conversion and cyclization of the bulky ferulic acid precursor by host metabolic engineering and protein engineering may afford the synthesis of even more structurally diverse stilbene compounds.
PMCID: PMC1435877  PMID: 16551366
7.  Transcriptional profile of Taxus chinensis cells in response to methyl jasmonate 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:295.
Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) has been successfully used as an effective elicitor to enhance production of taxol and other taxanes in cultured Taxus cells. However the mechanism of MeJA-mediated taxane biosynthesis remains unclear. Genomic information for species in the genus Taxus is currently unavailable. Therefore, information about the transcriptome of Taxus cells and specifically, description of changes in gene expression in response to MeJA, is needed for the better exploration of the biological mechanisms of MeJA-mediated taxane biosynthesis.
In this research, the transcriptome profiles of T. chinensis cells at 16 hours (T16) after MeJA treatment and of mock-treated cells (T0) were analyzed by “RNA-seq” to investigate the transcriptional alterations of Taxus cell in response to MeJA elicitation. More than 58 million reads (200 bp in length) of cDNA from both samples were generated, and 46,581 unigenes were found. There were 13,469 genes found to be expressed differentially between the two timepoints, including all of the known jasmonate (JA) biosynthesis/JA signaling pathway genes and taxol-related genes. The qRT-PCR results showed that the expression profiles of 12 randomly selected DEGs and 10 taxol biosynthesis genes were found to be consistent with the RNA-Seq data. MeJA appeared to stimulate a large number of genes involved in several relevant functional categories, such as plant hormone biosynthesis and phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. Additionally, many genes encoding transcription factors were shown to respond to MeJA elicitation.
The results of a transcriptome analysis suggest that exogenous application of MeJA could induce JA biosynthesis/JA signaling pathway/defence responses, activate a series of transcription factors, as well as increase expression of genes in the terpenoid biosynthesis pathway responsible for taxol synthesis. This comprehensive description of gene expression information could greatly facilitate our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of MeJA-mediated taxane biosynthesis in Taxus cells.
PMCID: PMC3414795  PMID: 22748077
8.  The cytoskeleton enhances gene expression in the response to the Harpin elicitor in grapevine 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;61(14):4021-4031.
The cytoskeleton undergoes dramatic reorganization during plant defence. This response is generally interpreted as part of the cellular repolarization establishing physical barriers against the invading pathogen. To gain insight into the functional significance of cytoskeletal responses for defence, two Vitis cell cultures that differ in their microtubular dynamics were used, and the cytoskeletal response to the elicitor Harpin in parallel to alkalinization of the medium as a fast response, and the activation of defence-related genes were followed. In one cell line derived from the grapevine cultivar ‘Pinot Noir’, microtubules contained mostly tyrosinylated α-tubulin, indicating high microtubular turnover, whereas in another cell line derived from the wild grapevine V. rupestris, the α-tubulin was strongly detyrosinated, indicating low microtubular turnover. The cortical microtubules were disrupted and actin filaments were bundled in both cell lines, but the responses were elevated in V. rupestris as compared with V. vinifera cv. ‘Pinot Noir’. The cytoskeletal responsiveness correlated with elicitor-induced alkalinization and the expression of defence genes. Using resveratrol synthase and stilbene synthase as examples, it could be shown that pharmacological manipulation of microtubules could induce gene expression in the absence of elicitor. These findings are discussed with respect to a role for microtubules as positive regulators of defence-induced gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2935876  PMID: 20675535
Actin; defence genes; elicitor; grapevine (V. vinifera cv. ‘Pinot Noir’, V. rupestris); Harpin; microtubules
9.  Jasmonates elicit different sets of stilbenes in Vitis vinifera cv. Negramaro cell cultures 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:49.
The plant phenol trans-resveratrol, which is mainly found in grape, displays a wide range of biological effects. A cell suspension culture was developed from calli of grape leaves of Vitis vinifera cv. Negramaro in order to study the bioproduction of resveratrol. The effects of a number of secondary plant metabolism elicitors, namely chitosan, methyl jasmonate, jasmonic acid, coronatine, and 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, were tested on this cell suspension culture. The identification and quantification of stilbenes was achieved with high performance liquid chromatography, with both spectrophotometric and mass spectrometric detection. Of the tested elicitors, methyl jasmonate was the most effective in inducing the biosynthesis of approximately 4 mg g−1 dry weight (about 60 mg L−1) of resveratrol. Conversely, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, jasmonic acid, and coronatine were able to trigger the synthesis of approximately 20 mg g−1 dry weight (200–210 mg L−1) of viniferins. Taken together, our results show for the first time different modulatory effects of closely-related jasmonates on stilbene biosynthesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40064-015-0831-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320690  PMID: 25674504
Vitis vinifera cv. Negramaro; Methyl jasmonate; Jasmonic acid; 12-oxo-phytodienoic; Coronatine; Chitosan; Viniferins
10.  Metabolomics Analysis and Biosynthesis of Rosmarinic Acid in Agastache rugosa Kuntze Treated with Methyl Jasmonate 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64199.
This study investigated the effect of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) on metabolic profiles and rosmarinic acid (RA) biosynthesis in cell cultures of Agastache rugosa Kuntze. Transcript levels of phenylpropanoid biosynthetic genes, i.e., ArPAL, Ar4CL, and ArC4H, maximally increased 4.5-fold, 3.4-fold, and 3.5-fold, respectively, compared with the untreated controls, and the culture contained relatively high amounts of RA after exposure of cells to 50 µM MeJA. RA levels were 2.1-, 4.7-, and 3.9-fold higher after exposure to 10, 50, and 100 µM MeJA, respectively, than those in untreated controls. In addition, the transcript levels of genes attained maximum levels at different time points after the initial exposure. The transcript levels of ArC4H and Ar4CL were transiently induced by MeJA, and reached a maximum of up to 8-fold at 3 hr and 6 hr, respectively. The relationships between primary metabolites and phenolic acids in cell cultures of A. rugosa treated with MeJA were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In total, 45 metabolites, including 41 primary metabolites and 4 phenolic acids, were identified from A. rugosa. Metabolite profiles were subjected to partial least square-discriminate analysis to evaluate the effects of MeJA. The results indicate that both phenolic acids and precursors for the phenylpropanoid biosynthetic pathway, such as aromatic amino acids and shikimate, were induced as a response to MeJA treatment. Therefore, MeJA appears to have an important impact on RA accumulation, and the increased RA accumulation in the treated cells might be due to activation of the phenylpropanoid genes ArPAL, ArC4H, and Ar4CL.
PMCID: PMC3665811  PMID: 23724034
11.  Thiamine modulates metabolism of the phenylpropanoid pathway leading to enhanced resistance to Plasmopara viticola in grapevine 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:31.
Previously, we have reported the ability of thiamine (vitamin B1) to induce resistance against Plasmopara viticola in a susceptible grapevine cv. Chardonnay. However, mechanisms underlying vitamins, especially, thiamine-induced disease resistance in grapevine are still largely unknown. Here, we assessed whether thiamine could modulate phenylpropanoid pathway-derived phytoalexins in grapevine plants, as well as, the role of such secondary metabolites in thiamine-induced resistance process to P. viticola.
Our data show that thiamine treatment elicited the expression of phenylpropanoid pathway genes in grapevine plants. The expression of these genes correlated with an accumulation of stilbenes, phenolic compounds, flavonoids and lignin. Furthermore, the total anti-oxidant potential of thiamine-treaded plants was increased by 3.5-fold higher level as compared with untreated-control plants. Four phenolic compounds are responsible of 97% of the total anti-oxidant potential of thiamine-treated plants. Among these compounds, is the caftaric acid, belonging to the hydroxy-cinnamic acids family. This element contributed, by its own, by 20% of this total anti-oxidant potential. Epifluorescence microscopy analysis revealed a concomitant presence of unbranched-altered P. viticola mycelia and stilbenes production in the leaf mesophyll of thiamine-treated inoculated plants, suggesting that stilbenes are an important component of thiamine-induced resistance in grapevine.
This work is the first to show the role of thiamine, as a vitamin, in the modulation of grapevine plant secondary metabolism contributing to an enhanced resistance to P. viticola, the most destructive fungal disease in vineyards.
PMCID: PMC3599452  PMID: 23442597
Thiamine; Plasmopara viticola; Stilbenes; Phenylpropanoid pathway genes; Lignin; Flavonoids; Grapevine; Induced resistance; Real-Time q-PCR; HPLC; UPLC-MS
12.  Biosynthesis of methylated resveratrol analogs through the construction of an artificial biosynthetic pathway in E. coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14:67.
Methylated resveratrol analogs show similar biological activities that are comparable with those of the resveratrol. However, the methylated resveratrol analogs exhibit better bioavailability as they are more easily transported into the cell and more resistant to degradation. Although these compounds are widely used in human health care and in industrial materials, at present they are mainly obtained by extraction from raw plant sources. Accordingly their production can suffer from a variety of economic problems, including low levels of productivity and/or heterogeneous quality. On this backdrop, large-scale production of plant metabolites via microbial approaches is a promising alternative to chemical synthesis and extraction from plant sources.
An Escherichia coli system containing an artificial biosynthetic pathway that produces methylated resveratrol analogues, such as pinostilbene (3,4’-dihydroxy-5-methoxystilbene), 3,5-dihydroxy-4’-methoxystilbene, 3,4’-dimethoxy-5-hydroxystilbene, and 3,5,4’-trimethoxystilbene, from simple carbon sources is developed. These artificial biosynthetic pathways contain a series of codon-optimized O-methyltransferase genes from sorghum in addition to the resveratrol biosynthetic genes. The E. coli cells that harbor pET-opTLO1S or pET-opTLO3S produce the one-methyl resveratrol analogues of 3,5-dihydroxy-4’-methoxystilbene and pinostilbene, respectively. Furthermore, the E. coli cells that harbor pET-opTLO13S produce 3,5-dihydroxy-4’-methoxystilbene, bis-methyl resveratrol (3,4’-dimethoxy-5-hydroxystilbene), and tri-methyl resveratrol (3,5,4’-trimethoxystilbene).
Our strategy demonstrates the first harness microorganisms for de novo synthesis of methylated resveratrol analogs used a single vector system joined with resveratrol biosynthetic genes and sorghum two resveratrol O-methyltransferase genes. Thus, this is also the first report on the production of the methylated resveratrol compounds bis-methyl and tri-methyl resveratrol (3,4’-dimethoxy-5-hydroxystilbene and 3,5,4’-trimethoxystilbene) in the E. coli culture. Thus, the production of the methylated resveratrol compounds was performed on the simple E. coli medium without precursor feeding in the culture.
PMCID: PMC4118633  PMID: 25033820
13.  Methyl jasmonate-elicited herbivore resistance: does MeJA function as a signal without being hydrolyzed to JA? 
Planta  2008;227(5):1161-1168.
Treatment with methyl jasmonate (MeJA) elicits herbivore resistance in many plant species and over-expression of JA carboxyl methyltransferase (JMT) constitutively increases JA-induced responses in Arabidopsis. When wild-type (WT) Nicotiana attenuata plants are treated with MeJA, a rapid transient endogenous JA burst is elicited, which in turn increases levels of nicotine and trypsin proteinase inhibitors (TPIs) and resistance to larvae of the specialist herbivore, Manduca sexta. All of these responses are impaired in plants silenced in lipoxygenase 3 expression (asLOX3) but are restored to WT levels by MeJA treatment. Whether these MeJA-induced responses are directly elicited by MeJA or by its cleavage product, JA, is unknown. Using virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS), we silenced MeJA-esterase (NaMJE) expression and found this gene responsible for most of the MeJA-cleaving activity in N. attenuata protein extracts. Silencing NaMJE in asLOX3, but not in WT plants, significantly reduced MeJA-induced nicotine levels and resistance to M. sexta, but not TPI levels. MeJA-induced transcript levels of threonine deaminase (NaTD) and phenylalanine ammonia lyase (NaPAL1) were also decreased in VIGS MJE (asLOX3) plants. Finally the performance of M. sexta larvae that fed on plants treated with JA or MeJA demonstrated that silencing NaMJE inhibited MeJA-induced but not JA-induced resistance in asLOX3 plants. From these results, we conclude that the resistance elicited by MeJA treatment is directly elicited not by MeJA but by its de-methylated product, JA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00425-008-0690-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2756367  PMID: 18214527
MeJA esterase (NaMJE); Methyl jasmonate (MeJA); Jasmonate (JA); Nicotiana attenuata; Manduca sexta
14.  Silymarin secretion and its elicitation by methyl jasmonate in cell cultures of Silybum marianum is mediated by phospholipase D-phosphatidic acid 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;61(3):747-754.
The flavonolignan silymarin is released to the extracellular medium of Silybum marianum cultures and its production can be stimulated by the elicitor methyljasmonate (MeJA). The sequence of the signalling processes leading to this response is unknown at present. It is reported in this work that MeJA increased the activity of the enzyme phospholipase D (PLD). Treatment with mastoparan (Mst), a PLD activity stimulator, also enhanced PLD and caused a substantial increase in silymarin production. The application of the product of PLD activity, phosphatidic acid (PA) promoted silymarin accumulation. Altering PLD activity by introducing in cultures n-butanol (nBuOH), which inhibits PA production by PLD, prevented silymarin elicitation by MeJA or Mst and also impeded its release in non-elicited cultures. Treatment with iso-, sec- or tert- butanol had no effect on silymarin production. The exogenous addition of PA reversed the inhibitory action of nBuOH, both in control and MeJA-treated cultures. These results suggest that the enzyme PLD and its product PA mediate silymarin secretion to the medium of S. marianum cultures.
PMCID: PMC2814106  PMID: 20007197
Cell cultures; elicitation; phospholipase D; phosphatidic acid; signalling; silymarin
15.  Inhibition of STAT3 Expression and Signaling in Resveratrol-Differentiated Medulloblastoma Cells1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2008;10(7):736-744.
In this study, the potential influence of resveratrol (3,5,4′-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) in signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling of medulloblastoma cells was evaluated by checking the status of STAT3 signaling and its downstream gene expression in two medulloblastoma cell lines (UW228-2 and UW228-3) with and without resveratrol treatment. The results revealed that resveratrol induced neuronal differentiation of medulloblastoma cells. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 expression and phosphorylation were detected in normally cultured UW228-2 and UW228-3 cells that were apparently attenuated after resveratrol treatment. The expression of STAT3 downstream genes, survivin, cyclin D1, Cox-2, and c-Myc, was suppressed but Bcl-2 was enhanced by resveratrol. Meanwhile, the production and secretion of leukemia inhibitory factor, a STAT3 activator, became active in resveratrol-treated cells. To further ascertain the significance of STAT3 signaling for medulloblastoma cells, AG490, a selective inhibitor of STAT3 phosphorylation, was used to treat UW228-3 cells. Phosphorylation of STAT3 was inhibited by AG490 accompanied with growth suppression, differentiation-like changes, and down-regulation of survivin, cyclin D1, Cox-2, and c-Myc. Our data thus suggest the importance of STAT3 signaling in maintenance and survival of medulloblastoma cells. This signaling may be the major target of resveratrol. Enhanced leukemia inhibitory factor and Bcl-2 expressions in resveratrol-treated cells might reflect a compensatory response to the loss of STAT3 function.
PMCID: PMC2435009  PMID: 18592012
16.  Contribution of taxane biosynthetic pathway gene expression to observed variability in paclitaxel accumulation in Taxus suspension cultures 
Biotechnology journal  2012;7(3):418-427.
Variability in product accumulation is one of the major obstacles limiting the widespread commercialization of plant cell culture technology to supply natural product pharmaceuticals. Despite extensive process engineering efforts, which have led to increased yields, plant cells exhibit variability in productivity that is poorly understood. Elicitation of Taxus cultures with methyl jasmonate (MeJA) induces paclitaxel accumulation, but to varying extents in different cultures. In this work, cultures with different aggregation profiles were established to create predictable differences in paclitaxel accumulation upon MeJA elicitation. Expression of known paclitaxel biosynthetic genes in MeJA-elicited cultures exhibiting both substantial (15-fold) and moderate (2-fold) differences in paclitaxel accumulation was analyzed using qRT-PCR. Each population exhibited the characteristic large increase in paclitaxel pathway gene expression following MeJA elicitation; however, differences in expression between populations were minor, and only observed for the cultures with the 15-fold variation in paclitaxel content. These data suggest that although upregulation of biosynthetic pathway gene expression contributes to observed increases in paclitaxel synthesis upon elicitation with MeJA, there are additional factors that need to be uncovered before paclitaxel productivity can be fully optimized.
PMCID: PMC3505991  PMID: 22095859
plant biotechnology; gene expression; paclitaxel; Taxus; production variability
17.  Genome-wide analysis of the grapevine stilbene synthase multigenic family: genomic organization and expression profiles upon biotic and abiotic stresses 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:130.
Plant stilbenes are a small group of phenylpropanoids, which have been detected in at least 72 unrelated plant species and accumulate in response to biotic and abiotic stresses such as infection, wounding, UV-C exposure and treatment with chemicals. Stilbenes are formed via the phenylalanine/polymalonate-route, the last step of which is catalyzed by the enzyme stilbene synthase (STS), a type III polyketide synthase (PKS). Stilbene synthases are closely related to chalcone synthases (CHS), the key enzymes of the flavonoid pathway, as illustrated by the fact that both enzymes share the same substrates. To date, STSs have been cloned from peanut, pine, sorghum and grapevine, the only stilbene-producing fruiting-plant for which the entire genome has been sequenced. Apart from sorghum, STS genes appear to exist as a family of closely related genes in these other plant species.
In this study a complete characterization of the STS multigenic family in grapevine has been performed, commencing with the identification, annotation and phylogenetic analysis of all members and integration of this information with a comprehensive set of gene expression analyses including healthy tissues at differential developmental stages and in leaves exposed to both biotic (downy mildew infection) and abiotic (wounding and UV-C exposure) stresses. At least thirty-three full length sequences encoding VvSTS genes were identified, which, based on predicted amino acid sequences, cluster in 3 principal groups designated A, B and C. The majority of VvSTS genes cluster in groups B and C and are located on chr16 whereas the few gene family members in group A are found on chr10. Microarray and mRNA-seq expression analyses revealed different patterns of transcript accumulation between the different groups of VvSTS family members and between VvSTSs and VvCHSs. Indeed, under certain conditions the transcriptional response of VvSTS and VvCHS genes appears to be diametrically opposed suggesting that flow of carbon between these two competing metabolic pathways is tightly regulated at the transcriptional level.
This study represents an overview of the expression pattern of each member of the STS gene family in grapevine under both constitutive and stress-induced conditions. The results strongly indicate the existence of a transcriptional subfunctionalization amongst VvSTSs and provide the foundation for further functional investigations about the role and evolution of this large gene family. Moreover, it represents the first study to clearly show the differential regulation of VvCHS and VvSTS genes, suggesting the involvement of transcription factors (TFs) in both the activation and repression of these genes.
PMCID: PMC3433347  PMID: 22863370
Stilbene synthase; Chalcone synthase; Abiotic stress; Downy mildew; Grapevine
18.  Metabolic Engineering for Resveratrol Derivative Biosynthesis in Escherichia coli 
Molecules and Cells  2015;38(4):318-326.
We previously reported that the SbROMT3syn recombinant protein catalyzes the production of the methylated resveratrol derivatives pinostilbene and pterostilbene by methylating substrate resveratrol in recombinant E. coli. To further study the production of stilbene compounds in E. coli by the expression of enzymes involved in stilbene biosynthesis, we isolated three stilbene synthase (STS) genes from rhubarb, peanut, and grape as well as two resveratrol O-methyltransferase (ROMT) genes from grape and sorghum. The ability of RpSTS to produce resveratrol in recombinant E. coli was compared with other AhSTS and VrSTS genes. Out of three STS, only AhSTS was able to produce resveratrol from p-coumaric acid. Thus, to improve the solubility of RpSTS, VrROMT, and SbROMT3 in E. coli, we synthesized the RpSTS, VrROMT and SbROMT3 genes following codon-optimization and expressed one or both genes together with the cinnamate/4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (CCL) gene from Streptomyces coelicolor. Our HPLC and LC-MS analyses showed that recombinant E. coli expressing both ScCCL and RpSTSsyn led to the production of resveratrol when p-coumaric acid was used as the precursor. In addition, incorporation of SbROMT3syn in recombinant E. coli cells produced resveratrol and its mono-methylated derivative, pinostilbene, as the major products from p-coumaric acid. However, very small amounts of pterostilbene were only detectable in the recombinant E. coli cells expressing the ScCCL, RpSTSsyn and SbROMT3syn genes. These results suggest that RpSTSsyn exhibits an enhanced enzyme activity to produce resveratrol and SbROMT3syn catalyzes the methylation of resveratrol to produce pinostilbene in E. coli cells.
PMCID: PMC4400306  PMID: 25715927
metabolic engineering; pinostilbene; resveratrol; resveratrol O-methyltransferase; stilbene synthase
19.  Identification of the dehydrin gene family from grapevine species and analysis of their responsiveness to various forms of abiotic and biotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:140.
Dehydrins (DHNs) protect plant cells from desiccation damage during environmental stress, and also participate in host resistance to various pathogens. In this study, we aimed to identify and characterize the DHN gene families from Vitis vinifera and wild V. yeshanensis, which is tolerant to both drought and cold, and moderately resistant to powdery mildew.
Four DHN genes were identified in both V. vinifera and V. yeshanensis, which shared a high sequence identity between the two species but little homology between the genes themselves. These genes were designated DHN1, DHN2, DHN3 and DHN4. All four of the DHN proteins were highly hydrophilic and were predicted to be intrinsically disordered, but they differed in their isoelectric points, kinase selectivities and number of functional motifs. Also, the expression profiles of each gene differed appreciably from one another. Grapevine DHN1 was not expressed in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions, but was induced by drought, cold, heat, embryogenesis, as well as the application of abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and methyl jasmonate (MeJA). It was expressed earlier in V. yeshanensis under drought conditions than in V. vinifera, and also exhibited a second round of up-regulation in V. yeshanensis following inoculation with Erysiphe necator, which was not apparent in V. vinifera. Like DHN1, DHN2 was induced by cold, heat, embryogenesis and ABA; however, it exhibited no responsiveness to drought, E. necator infection, SA or MeJA, and was also expressed constitutively in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions. Conversely, DHN3 was only expressed during seed development at extremely low levels, and DHN4 was expressed specifically during late embryogenesis. Neither DHN3 nor DHN4 exhibited responsiveness to any of the treatments carried out in this study. Interestingly, the presence of particular cis-elements within the promoter regions of each gene was positively correlated with their expression profiles.
The grapevine DHN family comprises four divergent members. While it is likely that their functions overlap to some extent, it seems that DHN1 provides the main stress-responsive function. In addition, our results suggest a close relationship between expression patterns, physicochemical properties, and cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions of the DHN genes.
PMCID: PMC3460772  PMID: 22882870
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
20.  Vasoprotective effects of resveratrol and SIRT1: attenuation of cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress and proinflammatory phenotypic alterations 
The dietary polyphenolic compound resveratrol, by activating the protein deacetylase enzyme silent information regulator 2/sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), prolongs life span in evolutionarily distant organisms and may mimic the cytoprotective effects of dietary restriction. The present study was designed to elucidate the effects of resveratrol on cigarette smoke-induced vascular oxidative stress and inflammation, which is a clinically highly relevant model of accelerated vascular aging. Cigarette smoke exposure of rats impaired the acetylcholine-induced relaxation of carotid arteries, which could be prevented by resveratrol treatment. Smoking and in vitro treatment with cigarette smoke extract (CSE) increased reactive oxygen species production in rat arteries and cultured coronary arterial endothelial cells (CAECs), respectively, which was attenuated by resveratrol treatment. The smoking-induced upregulation of inflammatory markers (ICAM-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, IL-6, and TNF-α) in rat arteries was also abrogated by resveratrol treatment. Resveratrol also inhibited CSE-induced NF-κB activation and inflammatory gene expression in CAECs. In CAECs, the aforementioned protective effects of resveratrol were abolished by knockdown of SIRT1, whereas the overexpression of SIRT1 mimicked the effects of resveratrol. Resveratrol treatment of rats protected aortic endothelial cells against cigarette smoking-induced apoptotic cell death. Resveratrol also exerted antiapoptotic effects in CSE-treated CAECs, which could be abrogated by knockdown of SIRT1. Resveratrol treatment also attenuated CSE-induced DNA damage in CAECs (comet assay). Thus resveratrol and SIRT1 exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic effects, which protect the endothelial cells against the adverse effects of cigarette smoking-induced oxidative stress. The vasoprotective effects of resveratrol will likely contribute to its anti-aging action in mammals and may be especially beneficial in patho-physiological conditions associated with accelerated vascular aging.
PMCID: PMC2551743  PMID: 18424637
tobacco; polyphenol; stroke; inflammation; apoptosis; vascular aging; sirtuin 1
21.  Investigation of Phenolic Acids in Suspension Cultures of Vitis vinifera Stimulated with Indanoyl-Isoleucine, N-Linolenoyl-L-Glutamine, Malonyl Coenzyme A and Insect Saliva 
Metabolites  2012;2(1):165-177.
Vitis vinifera c.v. Muscat de Frontignan (grape) contains various high valuable bioactive phenolic compounds with pharmaceutical properties and industrial interest which are not fully exploited. The focus of this investigation consists in testing the effects of various biological elicitors on a non-morphogenic callus suspension culture of V. vinifera. The investigated elicitors: Indanoyl-isoleucine (IN), N-linolenoyl-L-glutamine (LG), insect saliva (IS) and malonyl coenzyme A (MCoA) were aimed at mimicking the influence of environmental pathogens on plants in their natural habitats and at provoking exogenous induction of the phenylpropanoid pathway. The elicitors’ indanoyl-isoleucine (IN), N-linolenoyl-L-glutamine (LG) and insect saliva (IS), as well as malonyl coenzyme A (MCoA), were independently inoculated to stimulate the synthesis of phenylpropanoids. All of the enhancers positively increased the concentration of phenolic compounds in grape cells. The highest concentration of phenolic acids was detected after 2 h for MCoA, after 48 h for IN and after 24 h for LG and IS respectively. At the maximum production time, treated grape cells had a 3.5-fold (MCoA), 1.6-fold (IN) and 1.5-fold (IS) higher phenolic acid content compared to the corresponding control samples. The HPLC results of grape cells showed two major resveratrol derivatives: 3-O-Glucosyl-resveratrol and 4-(3,5-dihydroxyphenyl)-phenol. Their influences of the different elicitors, time of harvest and biomass concentration (p < 0.0001) were statistically significant on the synthesis of phenolic compounds. The induction with MCoA was found to demonstrate the highest statistical effect corresponding to the strongest stress response within the phenylpropanoid pathway in grape cells.
PMCID: PMC3901193  PMID: 24957372
indanoyl-isoleucine; N-linolenoyl-L-glutamine; malonyl coenzyme A; insect saliva; Vitis vinifera; phenolic acids
22.  Resveratrol inhibits collagen I synthesis by suppressing IGF-1R activation in intestinal fibroblasts 
AIM: To investigate whether resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene) inhibits collagen I synthesis induced by insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in intestinal fibroblasts, and to explore the possible molecular mechanisms.
METHODS: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into two groups: a control group and a 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis group. After 21 d of TNBS administration, the degree of inflammation and fibrosis in colon was measured by HE staining and Masson’s trichrome staining. Western blotting was used to examine collagen I, IGF-1 and silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1) protein expression in colitis tissues. Western blotting and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to characterize collagen I protein and col1a2 mRNA expression in mouse intestinal fibroblasts and CCD-18Co cells treated with IGF-1. A MEK inhibitor (U0126) was used to determine whether IGF-1-induced collagen I expression was mediated by extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2)-dependent mechanism. Effects of resveratrol on collagen I protein level, insulin growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels were also examined after IGF-1 treatment in fibroblasts. To evaluate whether SIRT1 was necessary for the anti-fibrosis effect of resveratrol, cells were transfected with SIRT1-specific small interfering RNAs, wild-type SIRT1, and deacetylase-inactive mutant SIRT1.
RESULTS: Collagen I and IGF-1 expression was increased, and SIRT1 expression was decreased (0.67 ± 0.04 vs 1.05 ± 0.07, P < 0.001) in TNBS-induced colitis compared with the control group. In vitro, IGF-1 could induce collagen I expression, mainly through the ERK 1/2 signal pathway. Resveratrol reduced basal and IGF-1-induced collagen I gene and protein expression in intestinal fibroblasts. Overexpression of wild-type SIRT1, not deacetylase-inactive mutant SIRT1, decreased expression of collagen I induced by IGF-1. Moreover, silencing SIRT1 restored collagen I expression in fibroblasts challenged with resveratrol. However, disruption of SIRT1 did not influence the anti-fibrotic effects of resveratrol and IGF-1-induced collagen I expression. Further analysis revealed that resveratrol significantly decreased phosphorylation of IGF-1R and its downstream signaling molecules by inhibiting IGF-1 binding to its receptor.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that resveratrol effectively inhibits collagen I synthesis in IGF-1-stimulated fibroblasts, partly by inhibiting IGF-1R activation, and SIRT1 is also responsible for the process.
PMCID: PMC4000501  PMID: 24782617
Intestinal fibrosis; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Resveratrol; Silent information regulator 1; Fibroblasts
23.  Anti-obesity effect of resveratrol-amplified grape skin extracts on 3T3-L1 adipocytes differentiation 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2012;6(4):286-293.
Resveratrol (3,4,5-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene), a phytoalexin found in grape skin, grape products, and peanuts as well as red wine, has been reported to have various biological and pharmacological properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-obesity effect of resveratrol-amplified grape skin extracts on adipocytes. The anti-obesity effects of grape skin extracts were investigated by measuring proliferation and differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells. The effect of grape skin ethanol extracts on cell proliferation was detected by the MTS assay. The morphological changes and degree of adipogenesis of preadipocyte 3T3-L1 cells were measured by Oil Red-O staining assay. Treatment with extracts of resveratrol-amplified grape skin decreased lipid accumulation and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity without affecting 3T3-L1 cell viability. Grape skin extract treatment resulted in significantly attenuated expression of key adipogenic transcription factors, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins, and their target genes (FAS, aP2, SCD-1, and LPL). These results indicate that resveratrol-amplified grape skin extracts may be useful for preventing obesity by regulating lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3439571  PMID: 22977681
Grape skin extracts; resveratrol; 3T3-L1; adipocyte differentiation
24.  Modulation of Phytoalexin Biosynthesis in Engineered Plants for Disease Resistance 
Phytoalexins are antimicrobial substances of low molecular weight produced by plants in response to infection or stress, which form part of their active defense mechanisms. Starting in the 1950’s, research on phytoalexins has begun with biochemistry and bio-organic chemistry, resulting in the determination of their structure, their biological activity as well as mechanisms of their synthesis and their catabolism by microorganisms. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of numerous phytoalexins has permitted the use of molecular biology tools for the exploration of the genes encoding enzymes of their synthesis pathways and their regulators. Genetic manipulation of phytoalexins has been investigated to increase the disease resistance of plants. The first example of a disease resistance resulting from foreign phytoalexin expression in a novel plant has concerned a phytoalexin from grapevine which was transferred to tobacco. Transformations were then operated to investigate the potential of other phytoalexin biosynthetic genes to confer resistance to pathogens. Unexpectedly, engineering phytoalexins for disease resistance in plants seem to have been limited to exploiting only a few phytoalexin biosynthetic genes, especially those encoding stilbenes and some isoflavonoids. Research has rather focused on indirect approaches which allow modulation of the accumulation of phytoalexin employing transcriptional regulators or components of upstream regulatory pathways. Genetic approaches using gain- or less-of functions in phytoalexin engineering together with modulation of phytoalexin accumulation through molecular engineering of plant hormones and defense-related marker and elicitor genes have been reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3742236  PMID: 23880860
plant engineering; phytoalexins; transcriptional factors; hormones; elicitors; regulation
25.  Anti-proliferative and gene expression actions of resveratrol in breast cancer cells in vitro 
Oncotarget  2014;5(24):12891-12907.
We have used a perfusion bellows cell culture system to investigate resveratrolinduced anti-proliferation/apoptosis in a human estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231). Using an injection system to perfuse media with stilbene, we showed resveratrol (0.5 – 100 μM) to decrease cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner. Comparison of influx and medium efflux resveratrol concentrations revealed rapid disappearance of the stilbene, consistent with cell uptake and metabolism of the agent reported by others. Exposure of cells to 10 μM resveratrol for 4 h daily × 6 d inhibited cell proliferation by more than 60%. Variable extracellular acid-alkaline conditions (pH 6.8 – 8.6) affected basal cell proliferation rate, but did not alter anti-proliferation induced by resveratrol. Resveratrol-induced gene expression, including transcription of the most up-regulated genes and pro-apoptotic p53-dependent genes, was not affected by culture pH changes. The microarray findings in the context of induction of anti-proliferation with brief daily exposure of cells to resveratrol—and rapid disappearance of the compound in the perfusion system—are consistent with existence of an accessible initiation site for resveratrol actions on tumor cells, e.g., the cell surface receptor for resveratrol described on integrin αvβ3.
PMCID: PMC4350334  PMID: 25436977
stilbene; integrin αvβ3; apoptosis; anti-proliferation; breast cancer

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