Glandular trichomes produce a wide variety of commercially important secondary metabolites in many plant species. The most prominent anti-malarial drug artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone, is produced in glandular trichomes of Artemisia annua. However, only limited genomic information is currently available in this non-model plant species.
We present a global characterization of A. annua glandular trichome transcriptome using 454 pyrosequencing. Sequencing runs using two normalized cDNA collections from glandular trichomes yielded 406,044 expressed sequence tags (average length = 210 nucleotides), which assembled into 42,678 contigs and 147,699 singletons. Performing a second sequencing run only increased the number of genes identified by ~30%, indicating that massively parallel pyrosequencing provides deep coverage of the A. annua trichome transcriptome. By BLAST search against the NCBI non-redundant protein database, putative functions were assigned to over 28,573 unigenes, including previously undescribed enzymes likely involved in sesquiterpene biosynthesis. Comparison with ESTs derived from trichome collections of other plant species revealed expressed genes in common functional categories across different plant species. RT-PCR analysis confirmed the expression of selected unigenes and novel transcripts in A. annua glandular trichomes.
The presence of contigs corresponding to enzymes for terpenoids and flavonoids biosynthesis suggests important metabolic activity in A. annua glandular trichomes. Our comprehensive survey of genes expressed in glandular trichome will facilitate new gene discovery and shed light on the regulatory mechanism of artemisinin metabolism and trichome function in A. annua.
Glandular secreting trichomes (GSTs) are called biofactories because they are active in synthesizing, storing and secreting various types of plant secondary metabolites. As the most effective drug against malaria, artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone is derived from GSTs of Artemisia annua. However, low artemisinin content (0.001%∼1.54% of dry weight) has hindered its wide application. We investigate the GST-expressed proteins in Artemisia annua using a comparative proteomics approach, aiming for a better understanding of the trichome proteome and arteminisin metabolism. 2D-electrophoresis was employed to compare the protein profiles of GSTs and leaves. More than 700 spots were resolved for GSTs, of which ∼93 non-redundant proteins were confidently identified by searching NCBI and Artemisia EST databases. Over 70% of these proteins were highly expressed in GTSs. Functional classification of these GSTs enriched proteins revealed that many of them participate in major plant metabolic processes such as electron transport, transcription and translation.
Artemisia annua is the source of antimalarial phytomolecule, artemisinin. It is mainly produced and stored in the glandular secretory trichomes present in the leaves of the plant. Since, the artemisinin biosynthesis steps are yet to be worked out, in this investigation a microarray chip was strategized for the first time to shortlist the differentially expressing genes at a stage of plant producing highest artemisinin compared to the stage with no artemisinin. As the target of this study was to analyze differential gene expression associated with contrasting artemisinin content in planta and a genotype having zero/negligible artemisinin content was unavailable, it was decided to compare different stages of the same genotype with contrasting artemisinin content (seedling - negligible artemisinin, mature leaf - high artemisinin). The SCAR-marked artemisinin-rich (∼1.2%) Indian variety ‘CIM-Arogya’ was used in the present study to determine optimal plant stage and leaf ontogenic level for artemisinin content. A representative EST dataset from leaf trichome at the stage of maximal artemisinin biosynthesis was established. The high utility small scale custom microarray chip of A. annua containing all the significant artemisinin biosynthesis-related genes, the established EST dataset, gene sequences isolated in-house and strategically selected candidates from the A. annua Unigene database (NCBI) was employed to compare the gene expression profiles of two stages. The expression data was validated through semiquantitative and quantitative RT-PCR followed by putative annotations through bioinformatics-based approaches. Many candidates having probable role in artemisinin metabolism were identified and described with scope for further functional characterization.
Glandular trichomes are specialized hairs found on the surface of about 30% of all vascular plants and are responsible for a significant portion of a plant’s secondary chemistry. Glandular trichomes are an important source of essential oils, i.e., natural fragrances or products that can be used by the pharmaceutical industry, although many of these substances have evolved to provide the plant with protection against herbivores and pathogens. The storage compartment of glandular trichomes usually is located on the tip of the hair and is part of the glandular cell, or cells, which are metabolically active. Trichomes and their exudates can be harvested relatively easily, and this has permitted a detailed study of their metabolites, as well as the genes and proteins responsible for them. This knowledge now assists classical breeding programs, as well as targeted genetic engineering, aimed to optimize trichome density and physiology to facilitate customization of essential oil production or to tune biocide activity to enhance crop protection. We will provide an overview of the metabolic diversity found within plant glandular trichomes, with the emphasis on those of the Solanaceae, and of the tools available to manipulate their activities for enhancing the plant’s resistance to pests.
glandular trichome; plant-herbivore interactions; pathogen; Solanaceae; pest resistance; plant defense; leaf hair; tomato; plant breeding; genetic engineering
Drugs are primary weapons for reducing malaria in human populations. However emergence of resistant parasites has repeatedly curtailed the lifespan of each drug that is developed and deployed. Currently the most effective anti-malarial is artemisinin, which is extracted from the leaves of Artemisia annua. Due to poor pharmacokinetic properties and prudent efforts to curtail resistance to monotherapies, artemisinin is prescribed only in combination with other anti-malarials composing an Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT). Low yield in the plant, and the added cost of secondary anti-malarials in the ACT, make artemisinin costly for the developing world. As an alternative, we compared the efficacy of oral delivery of the dried leaves of whole plant (WP) A. annua to a comparable dose of pure artemisinin in a rodent malaria model (Plasmodium chabaudi). We found that a single dose of WP (containing 24 mg/kg artemisinin) reduces parasitemia more effectively than a comparable dose of purified drug. This increased efficacy may result from a documented 40-fold increase in the bioavailability of artemisinin in the blood of mice fed the whole plant, in comparison to those administered synthetic drug. Synergistic benefits may derive from the presence of other anti-malarial compounds in A. annua. If shown to be clinically efficacious, well-tolerated, and compatible with the public health imperative of forestalling evolution of drug resistance, inexpensive, locally grown and processed A. annua might prove to be an effective addition to the global effort to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality.
Due to the global occurrence of multi-drug-resistant malarial parasites (Plasmodium falciparum), the anti-malarial drug most effective against malaria is artemisinin, a natural product (sesquiterpene lactone endoperoxide) extracted from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua). However, artemisinin is in short supply and unaffordable to most malaria patients. Artemisinin can be semi-synthesized from its precursor artemisinic acid, which can be synthesized from simple sugars using microorganisms genetically engineered with genes from A. annua. In order to develop an industrially competent yeast strain, detailed analyses of microbial physiology and development of gene expression strategies are required.
Three plant genes coding for amorphadiene synthase, amorphadiene oxidase (AMO or CYP71AV1), and cytochrome P450 reductase, which in concert divert carbon flux from farnesyl diphosphate to artemisinic acid, were expressed from a single plasmid. The artemisinic acid production in the engineered yeast reached 250 μg mL-1 in shake-flask cultures and 1 g L-1 in bio-reactors with the use of Leu2d selection marker and appropriate medium formulation. When plasmid stability was measured, the yeast strain synthesizing amorphadiene alone maintained the plasmid in 84% of the cells, whereas the yeast strain synthesizing artemisinic acid showed poor plasmid stability. Inactivation of AMO by a point-mutation restored the high plasmid stability, indicating that the low plasmid stability is not caused by production of the AMO protein but by artemisinic acid synthesis or accumulation. Semi-quantitative reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR and quantitative real time-PCR consistently showed that pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) genes, belonging to the family of ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter, were massively induced in the yeast strain producing artemisinic acid, relative to the yeast strain producing the hydrocarbon amorphadiene alone. Global transcriptional analysis by yeast microarray further demonstrated that the induction of drug-resistant genes such as ABC transporters and major facilitator superfamily (MSF) genes is the primary cellular stress-response; in addition, oxidative and osmotic stress responses were observed in the engineered yeast.
The data presented here suggest that the engineered yeast producing artemisinic acid suffers oxidative and drug-associated stresses. The use of plant-derived transporters and optimizing AMO activity may improve the yield of artemisinic acid production in the engineered yeast.
Artemisinin is the current drug of choice for treatment of malaria and a number of other diseases. It is obtained from the annual herb, Artemisia annua and some microbial sources by genetic engineering. There is a great concern that the artemisinin production at current rate will not meet the increasing demand by the pharmaceutical industry, so looking for additional sources is imperative.
In current study, artemisinin concentration was analysed and compared in the flowers, leaves, roots and stems of Artemisia annua and 14 other Artemisia species including two varieties each for Artemisia roxburghiana and Artemisia dracunculus using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
The highest artemisinin concentration was detected in the leaves (0.44 ± 0.03%) and flowers (0.42 ± 0.03%) of A. annua, followed by the flowers (0.34 ± .02%) of A. bushriences and leaves (0.27 ± 0%) of A. dracunculus var dracunculus. The average concentration of artemisinin varied in the order of flowers > leaves > stems > roots.
This study identifies twelve novel plant sources of artemisinin, which may be helpful for pharmaceutical production of artemisinin. This is the first report of quantitative comparison of artemisinin among a large number of Artemisia species.
Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, produces a complex array of secondary compounds that are secreted into glandular trichomes, specialized structures found on leaf surfaces and anther appendages of flowers. The primary components of these trichome secretions are sesquiterpene lactones (STL), a diverse class of compounds produced abundantly by the plant family Compositae and believed to contribute to plant defense against herbivory. We treated wild and cultivated H. annuus accessions with exogenous methyl jasmonate, a plant hormone that mediates plant defense against insect herbivores and certain classes of fungal pathogens. The wild sunflower produced a higher density of glandular trichomes on its leaves than the cultivar. Comparison of the profiles of glandular trichome extracts obtained by liquid chromatography–mass spectroscopy (LC-MS) showed that wild and cultivated H. annuus were qualitatively similar in surface chemistry, although differing in the relative size and proportion of various compounds detected. Despite observing consistent transcriptional responses to methyl jasmonate treatment, we detected no significant effect on glandular trichome density or LC-MS profile in cultivated or wild sunflower, with wild sunflower exhibiting a declining trend in overall STL production and foliar glandular trichome density of jasmonate-treated plants. These results suggest that glandular trichomes and associated compounds may act as constitutive defenses or require greater levels of stimulus for induction than the observed transcriptional responses to exogenous jasmonate. Reduced defense investment in domesticated lines is consistent with predicted tradeoffs caused by selection for increased yield; future research will focus on the development of genetic resources to explicitly test the ecological roles of glandular trichomes and associated effects on plant growth and fitness.
Artemisia annua is an important medicinal crop used for the production of the anti-malarial compound artemisinin. In order to assist in the production of affordable high quality artemisinin we have carried out an A. annua breeding programme aimed at improving artemisinin concentration and biomass. Here we report on a combining ability analysis of a diallel cross to identify robust parental lines for hybrid breeding. The parental lines were selected based on a range of phenotypic traits to encourage heterosis. The general combining ability (GCA) values for the diallel parental lines correlated to the positive alleles of quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the same parents indicating the presence of beneficial alleles that contribute to parental performance. Hybrids generated from crossing specific parental lines with good GCA were identified as having an increase in both artemisinin concentration and biomass when grown either in glasshouse or experimental field trials and compared to controls. This study demonstrates that combining ability as determined by a diallel cross can be used to identify elite parents for the production of improved A. annua hybrids. Furthermore, the selection of material for breeding using this approach was found to be consistent with our QTL-based molecular breeding approach.
Artemisinin is an endoperoxidized sesquiterpene from the Chinese medicinal plant Artemisia annua, used as an effective anti-malarial drug. Its biosynthesis pathway has been investigated for many years for scientific interest and for potential manufacturing applications to fulfill the market demand. A number of regulatory enzymes of its biosynthesis process, including amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, CYP71AV1 and cytochrome P450 reductase, have been obtained and utilized to increase the content of artemisinin. However, a large knowledge gap still exists, and certain points of controversy have stirred debates within the field. In this review, the progress and perspective of artemisinin biosynthesis and its regulating enzymes are described.
Artemisinin; biosynthesis pathway; progress and perspective; regulatory enzymes
Trichomes are specialized epidermal structures that function as physical and chemical deterrents against arthropod herbivores. Aerial tissues of cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are populated by several morphologically distinct trichome types, the most abundant of which is the type VI glandular trichome that produces various specialized metabolites. Here, the effect of the hairless (hl) mutation on trichome density and morphology, chemical composition, and resistance to a natural insect herbivore of tomato was investigated. The results show that the major effect of hl on pubescence results from structural distortion (bending and swelling) of all trichome types in aerial tissues. Leaf surface extracts and isolated type VI glands from hl plants contained wild-type levels of monoterpenes, glycoalkaloids, and acyl sugars, but were deficient in sesquiterpene and polyphenolic compounds implicated in anti-insect defence. No-choice bioassays showed that hl plants are compromised in resistance to the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta. These results establish a link between the morphology and chemical composition of glandular trichomes in cultivated tomato, and show that hl-mediated changes in these leaf surface traits correlate with decreased resistance to insect herbivory.
Acyl sugar; herbivory; jasmonate; phenolics; plant defence; plant–insect interaction; secondary metabolite; terpene; tomato; trichome
Artemisia annua L. produces the sesquiterpene lactone, artemisinin, a potent antimalarial drug that is also effective in treating other parasitic diseases, some viral infections and various neoplasms. Artemisinin is also an allelopathic herbicide that can inhibit the growth of other plants. Unfortunately, the compound is in short supply and thus, studies on its production in the plant are of interest as are low cost methods for drug delivery. Here we review our recent studies on artemisinin production in A. annua during development of the plant as it moves from the vegetative to reproductive stage (flower budding and full flower formation), in response to sugars, and in concert with the production of the ROS, hydrogen peroxide. We also provide new data from animal experiments that measured the potential of using the dried plant directly as a therapeutic. Together these results provide a synopsis of a more global view of regulation of artemisinin biosynthesis in A. annua than previously available. We further suggest an alternative low cost method of drug delivery to treat malaria and other neglected tropical diseases.
Artemisinin pharmacokinetics; ROS; DMSO; Artemisia annua development; Trichomes
Background and the purpose of the study
Artemisinin is one of the most effective medicine against malaria, which is produced naturally by Artemisia annua in low yield. It is produced in a metabolic pathway, in which several genes and gene products are involved. One of the key genes in this pathway is am1, which encodes amorpha-4, 11-diene synthase (ADS), a key enzyme in artemisinin biosynthesis pathway. The aim of this study was to determine the presence of this gene in ten Artemisia species in order to increase the yield of production of Artemisinin.
The experiments were carried out using PCR. Specific primers were designed based on the published am1 gene sequence obtained from A. annua (NCBI, accession number AF327527).
The amplification of this gene by the specific primers was considered as a positive sign for the potentiality of artemisinin production. Since the entire am1 gene was not amplified in any of the 10 species used, four parts of the gene, essential in ADS enzyme function, corresponding to a) pair site of Arg10-Pro12 in the first 100 amino acids, b) aspartate rich motif (DDXXD), c) active site final lid and d) active site including farnesyl diphosphate (FDP) ionization sites and catalytic site in the ADS enzyme, were investigated.
The sequence corresponding to ADS active site was amplified only in A. annua, A. aucheri and A. chamaemelifolia. The negative results obtained with other species could be due to some sequence alteration, such as point mutations or INDELs. We propose A. aucheri and A. chamaemelifolia as two potential candidate species for further characterization, breeding and transferring am1 gene for artemisinin overproduction.
amorpha-4,11-diene synthase; Artemisia (sweet wormwood); artemisinin; Asteraceae; PCR
Artemisinin, from which the artemether component of Coartem®(artemether/lumefantrine, AL) is derived, is obtained from the plant sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) which has been used for over 2,000 years as a Chinese herbal remedy. Artemisinin was first identified by Chinese researchers as the active anti-malarial constituent of A. annua and its derivatives were found to be the most potent of all anti-malarial drugs. Artemether acts rapidly, reducing the infecting parasite biomass by approximately 10,000-fold per asexual life cycle. Lumefantrine, the other active constituent of AL, acts over a longer period to eliminate the residual 100-100,000 parasites that remain after artemether is cleared from the body and thus minimizes the risk of recrudescence. The two agents have different modes of action and act at different points in the parasite life cycle and show a synergistic action against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. The combination of artemether and lumefantrine reduces the risk of resistance developing to either agent, and to date there are no reports of resistance to AL combined therapy in the malaria parasite that infects humans. Following a unique partnership agreement between Chinese authorities and Novartis, the manufacturer of AL, over 20 sponsored clinical studies have been undertaken in various malaria endemic regions and in travellers. These trials have involved more than 3,500 patients (including over 2,000 children), and led to identification of a six-dose, three-day regimen as the optimal dosing strategy for AL in uncomplicated falciparum malaria. AL has consistently shown 28-day polymerase chain (PCR)-corrected cure rates greater than 95% in the evaluable population, meeting WHO recommendations. More recently, Novartis and the Medicines for Malaria Venture have worked in partnership to develop Coartem® Dispersible, a new formulation designed specifically to meet the specific needs of children with malaria. The dispersible tablets have shown similar high response rates to those observed with crushed standard tablets of AL. A partnership agreement between Novartis and WHO has seen over 250 million AL (Coartem®) treatments (75% for children) being distributed to malaria patients in developing countries without profit, supported by training programmes and educational resources.
With the escalating prevalence of malaria in recent years, artemisinin demand has placed considerable stress on its production
worldwide. At present, the relative lowyield of artemisinin (0.011.1 %) in the source plant (Artemisia annua L. plant) has imposed a
serious limitation in commercializing the drug. Amorpha4, 11diene synthase (ADS) has been reported a key enzyme in enhancing the
artemisinin level in Artemisia annua L. An understanding of the structural and functional correlations of Amorpha4, 11diene synthase
(ADS) may therefore, help in the molecular upregulation of the enzyme. In this context, an in silico approach was used to study the
ADS3963 (3963 bp) gene cloned by us, from high artemisinin (0.70.9% dry wt basis) yielding strain of A. annua L. The fulllength
putative gene of ADS3963 was found to encode a protein consisting of 533 amino acid residues with conserved aspartate rich domain.
The isoelectric point (pI) and molecular weight of the protein were 5.25 and 62.2 kDa, respectively. The phylogenetic analysis of ADS genes
from various species revealed evolutionary conservation. Homology modeling method was used for prediction of the 3D structure of
ADS3963 protein and Autodock 4.0 version was used to study the ligand binding. The predicted 3D model and docking studies may further
be used in characterizing the protein in wet laboratory.
Artemisia annua; artemisinin; ADS3963 gene; homology modeling; phylogenetic tree; docking
Endophytic actinobacteria colonize internal tissues of their host plants and are considered as a rich and reliable source of diverse species and functional microorganisms. In this study, endophytic actinobacterial strain YIM 63111 was isolated from surface-sterilized tissue of the medicinal plant Artemisia annua. We identified strain YIM 63111 as a member of the genus Pseudonocardia. A. annua seedlings grown under both sterile and greenhouse conditions were inoculated with strain YIM 63111. The growth of A. annua seedlings was strongly reduced when YIM 63111 was inoculated at higher concentrations under sterile conditions. However, no growth inhibition was observed when A. annua was grown under greenhouse conditions. Using an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expressing YIM 63111 strain, we also observed the endophytic colonization of A. annua seedling using confocal laser-scanning microscopy. The transcription levels of the key genes involved in artemisinin biosynthesis were investigated using real time RT-PCR, revealing that cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (CYP71AV1) and cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CPR) expression were up-regulated in A. annua upon inoculation with strain YIM 63111 under certain conditions. The up-regulation of these genes was associated with the increased accumulation of artemisinin. These results suggest that endophytic actinobacteria effectively stimulate certain plant defense responses. Our data also demonstrate the use of Pseudonocardia sp. strain YIM 63111 as a promising means to enhance artemisinin production in plants.
Cotton fibres are unicellular seed trichomes. Our previous study suggested that the cotton R2R3 MYB transcript factor GaMYB2 is a functional homologue of the Arabidopsis trichome regulator GLABRA1 (GL1). Here, the GaMYB2 promoter activity is reported in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), and Arabidopsis plants. A 2062 bp promoter of GaMYB2 was isolated from G. arboreum, and fused to a β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene. In cotton, the GaMYB2 promoter exhibited activities in developing fibre cells and trichomes of other aerial organs, including leaves, stems and bracts. In Arabidopsis the promoter was specific to trichomes. Different from Arabidopsis and cotton that have unicellular non-glandular simple trichomes, tobacco plants contain more than one type of trichome, including multicellular simple and glandular secreting trichomes (GSTs). Interestingly, in tobacco plants the GaMYB2 promoter directed GUS expression exclusively in glandular cells of GSTs. A series of 5′-deletions revealed that a 360 bp fragment upstream to the translation initiation codon was sufficient to drive gene expression. A putative cis-element of the T/G-box was located at -233 to -214; a yeast one-hybrid assay showed that Arabidopsis bHLH protein GLABRA3 (GL3), also a trichome regulator, and GhDEL65, a GL3-like cotton protein, had high binding activities to the T/G-box motif. Overexpression of GL3 or GhDEL65 enhanced the GaMYB2 promoter activity in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. A comparison of GaMYB2 promoter specificities in trichomes of different plant species with different types of trichomes provides a tool for further dissection of plant trichome structure and development.
Cotton fibre; glandular; MYB; promoter; tobacco; trichome
Artemisia annua L. is an important source for artemisinin, a potent drug for treating malaria. This study aims to map and predict the potential geographic distribution of A. annua L. in China.
The Geographic Information System for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM-GIS) was developed and used to map the potential geographic distribution of A. annua L.
Climatic, edaphic and topographic characteristics of A. annua L. microhabitats in Youyang County were mapped to find distribution patterns. The maps identified that certain habitats in the Chongqing region and some potential regions, especially in Guizhou Province, possess similarity indices of ≥98%. In particular, high quality microhabitats A. annua L. were found in the Wuling mountains region.
The present study demonstrates a GIS approach to predict potential habitats for A. annua L. TCM-GIS is a powerful tool for assessing bioclimatic suitability for medicinal plants.
Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) are rapidly gaining attention in the West as sources of new drugs, dietary supplements and functional foods. However, lack of consistent manufacturing practices and quality standards, fear of adulteration, and perceived deficiencies in scientific validation of efficacy and safety impede worldwide acceptance of TCM. In addition, Western pharmaceutical industries and regulatory agencies are partial toward single ingredient drugs based on synthetic molecules, and skeptical of natural product mixtures. This review concentrates on three examples of TCM-derived pharmaceuticals and functional foods that have, despite these usual obstacles, risen to wide acceptance in the West based on their remarkable performance in recent scientific investigations. They are: Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), the source of artemisinin, which is the currently preferred single compound anti-malarial drug widely used in combination therapies and recently approved by US FDA; Thunder god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) which is being developed as a botanical drug for rheumatoid arthritis; and green tea (Camellia sinensis) which is used as a functional beverage and a component of dietary supplements.
Artemisia annua; artemisinin; Camellia sinensis; (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG); functional foods; nutraceuticals; traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); tripdiolide; Tripterygium wilfordii; triptolide
Artemisinin is the active principle of the Chinese herb Artemisia annua L. In addition to its anti-malarial activity, artemisinin and its derivatives have been shown to exert profound anti-cancer activity. The endoperoxide moiety in the chemical structure of artemisinin is thought to be responsible for the bioactivity. Here, we analyzed the cytotoxicity and the ability of artemisinin, five of its derivatives, and two other endoperoxides to inhibit generation of nitric oxide (NO). In the RAW 264.7 mouse macrophage cell line, the well-established model cell line to analyze NO generation, artesunate revealed the highest ability to inhibit NO production among all compounds tested. In cytotoxicity assays (XTT assay), the IC50 value of RAW 264.7 cells for artesunate was determined to be 3.1 ± 0.7 μM. In order to associate the cytotoxic effects with specific alteration in gene expression related to NO metabolism and signaling, whole genome mRNA microarray analyses were conducted. RAW 264.7 cells were treated with artesunate using DMSO as vehicle control followed by microarray analysis. A total of 36 genes related to NO metabolism and signaling were found to be differentially expressed upon exposure to artesunate. Apart from NO-related genes, the expression of genes associated with other functional groups was also analyzed. Out of 24 functional groups, differential expression was most prominent in genes involved in cell-to-cell signaling and interactions. Further refinement of this analysis showed that the pathways for cAMP-mediated signaling and Wnt/β-catenin signaling were most closely related to changes in mRNA expression. In conclusion, NO generation and signaling play a role in exhibiting cytotoxic activity of artesunate. In addition, other signaling pathways also contribute to the inhibitory effect of artesunate towards RAW 264.7 cells pointing to a multi-factorial mode of action of artesunate.
Artemisinin; Pharmacogenomics; Microarray; Nitric oxide; Pharmacognosy; Traditional Chinese medicine
Epigenetic inheritance, transgenerational transmission of traits not proximally determined by DNA sequence, has been linked to transmission of chromatin modifications and gene regulation, which are known to be sensitive to environmental factors. Mimulus guttatus increases trichome (plant hair) density in response to simulated herbivore damage. Increased density is expressed in progeny even if progeny do not experience damage. To better understand epigenetic inheritance of trichome production, we tested the hypothesis that candidate gene expression states are inherited in response to parental damage.Using M. guttatus recombinant inbred lines, offspring of leaf-damaged and control plants were raised without damage. Relative expression of candidate trichome development genes was measured in offspring. Line and parental damage effects on trichome density were measured. Associations between gene expression, trichome density, and response to parental damage were determined.We identified M. guttatus MYB MIXTA-like 8 as a possible negative regulator of trichome development. We found that parental leaf damage induces down-regulation of MYB MIXTA-like 8 in progeny, which is associated with epigenetically inherited increased trichome density.Our results link epigenetic transmission of an ecologically important trait with differential gene expression states – providing insight into a mechanism underlying environmentally induced ‘soft inheritance’.
maternal effects; Mimulus guttatus (yellow monkeyflower); MYB transcription factors; phenotypic plasticity; soft inheritance; transgenerational epigenetic inheritance; trichome density; wound response
Background and Aims
The resurgence of malaria, particularly in the developing world, is considerable and exacerbated by the development of single-gene multi-drug resistances to chemicals such as chloroquinone. Drug therapies, as recommended by the World Health Organization, now include the use of antimalarial compounds derived from Artemisia annua – in particular, the use of artemisinin-based ingredients. Despite our limited knowledge of its mode of action or biosynthesis there is a need to secure a supply and enhance yields of artemisinin. The present study aims to determine how plant biomass can be enhanced while maximizing artemisinin concentration by understanding the plant's nutritional requirements for nitrogen and potassium.
Experiments were carried out, the first with differing concentrations of nitrogen, at 6, 31, 56, 106, 206 or 306 mg L−1 being applied, while the other differing in potassium concentration (51, 153 or 301 mg L−1). Nutrients were supplied in irrigation water to plants in pots and after a growth period biomass production and leaf artemisinin concentration were measured. These data were used to determine optimal nutrient requirements for artemisinin yield.
Nitrogen nutrition enhanced plant nitrogen concentration and biomass production successively up to 106 mg N L−1 for biomass and 206 mg N L−1 for leaf nitrogen; further increases in nitrogen had no influence. Artemisinin concentration in dried leaf material, measured by HPLC mass spectroscopy, was maximal at a nitrogen application of 106 mg L−1, but declined at higher concentrations. Increasing potassium application from 51 to 153 mg L−1 increased total plant biomass, but not at higher applications. Potassium application enhanced leaf potassium concentration, but there was no effect on leaf artemisinin concentration or leaf artemisinin yield.
Artemisinin concentration declined beyond an optimal point with increasing plant nitrogen concentration. Maximization of artemisinin yield (amount per plant) requires optimization of plant biomass via control of nitrogen nutrition.
Artemisia; fertigation; malaria; nitrogen; nutrition; potassium
The increasing number of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium strains warrants exploration of new anti-malarials. Medicinal plant research has become more important, particularly after the development of Chinese anti-malarial drug artemisnin from Artemisia annua. The present study shows evaluation of anti-malarial effects of two plants commonly used against malaria in the Garhwal region of north-west Himalaya, in order to discover the herbal-based medicine.
In vitro anti-plasmodial sensitivity of plant extracts was assessed using schizont maturation and parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) assay. Cytotoxic activities of the examined extracts were determined on L-6 cells of rat skeletal muscle myoblast. The 4-day test for anti-malarial activity against a chloroquine sensitive Plasmodium berghei NK65 strain in Swiss albino mice was used for monitoring in vivo activity of plant extracts.
Chloroform extract of H. antidysenterica (HA-2) and petroleum ether extract of V. canescens (VC-1) plants significantly reduced parasitaemia in P. berghei infected mice. The extract HA-2 showed in vitro anti-plasmodial activity with its IC50 value 5.5 μg/ml using pLDH assay and ED50 value 18.29 mg/kg in P. berghei infected Swiss albino mice. Similarly petroleum ether extract of V. canescens (VC-1) showed in vitro anti-plasmodial activity with its IC50 value 2.76 μg/ml using pLDH assay and ED50 15.8 mg/kg in P. berghei infected mice. The extracts coded as HA-2 at 30 mg/kg and VC-1 at 20 mg/kg exhibited parasite inhibition in mice: 73.2% and 63.0% respectively. Of these two plant extracts, petroleum ether extract of V. canescens was found slightly cytotoxic.
The present investigation reflects the use of these traditional medicinal plants against malaria and these plants may work as potential source in the development of variety of herbal formulations for the treatment of malaria.
Background and Aims
Recent studies have shown that small structures on plant surfaces serve ecological functions such as resistance against herbivores. The morphology, distribution, chemical composition and changes during shoot and leaf development of such small structures were examined on Paulownia tomentosa.
The morphology and distribution of the structures were studied under light microscopy, and their chemical composition was analysed using thin-layer chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography. To further investigate the function of these structures, several simple field experiments and observations were also conducted.
Three types of small structures on P. tomentosa were investigated: bowl-shaped organs, glandular hairs and dendritic trichomes. The bowl-shaped organs were densely aggregated on the leaves near flower buds and were determined to be extrafloral nectarines (EFNs) that secrete sugar and attract ants. Nectar production of these organs was increased by artificial damage to the leaves, suggesting an anti-herbivore function through symbiosis with ants. Glandular hairs were found on the surfaces of young and/or reproductive organs. Glandular hairs on leaves, stems and flowers secreted mucilage containing glycerides and trapped small insects. Secretions from glandular hairs on flowers and immature fruits contained flavonoids, which may provide protection against some herbivores. Yellow dendritic trichomes on the adaxial side of leaves also contained flavonoids identical to those secreted by the glandular hairs on fruits and flowers. Three special types of leaves, which differed from the standard leaves in shape, size and identity of small structures, developed near young shoot tips or young flower buds. The density of small structures on these leaf types was higher than on standard leaves, suggesting that these leaf types may be specialized to protect young leaves or reproductive organs. Changes in the small structures during leaf development suggested that leaves of P. tomentosa are primarily protected by glandular hairs and dendritic trichomes at young stages and by the EFNs at mature stages.
The results indicate that P. tomentosa protects young and/or reproductive organs from herbivores through the distribution and allocation of small structures, the nature of which depends on the developmental stage of leaves and shoots.
Anti-herbivore defence; dendritic trichome; extrafloral nectary; flavonoids; glandular hair; glycerides; indirect defence; leaf development; morphology; optimal defence hypothesis; Paulownia tomentosa; shoot development
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is linked to the development of asthma. Anti-malarial drug artesunate is a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, the principal active component of a medicinal plant Artemisia annua, and has been shown to inhibit PI3K/Akt activity. We hypothesized that artesunate may attenuate allergic asthma via inhibition of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
Female BALB/c mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) developed airway inflammation. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was assessed for total and differential cell counts, and cytokine and chemokine levels. Lung tissues were examined for cell infiltration and mucus hypersecretion, and the expression of inflammatory biomarkers. Airway hyperresponsiveness was monitored by direct airway resistance analysis. Artesunate dose-dependently inhibited OVA-induced increases in total and eosinophil counts, IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and eotaxin levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. It attenuated OVA-induced lung tissue eosinophilia and airway mucus production, mRNA expression of E-selectin, IL-17, IL-33 and Muc5ac in lung tissues, and airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. In normal human bronchial epithelial cells, artesunate blocked epidermal growth factor-induced phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates tuberin, p70S6 kinase and 4E-binding protein 1, and transactivation of NF-κB. Similarly, artesunate blocked the phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream substrates in lung tissues from OVA-challenged mice. Anti-inflammatory effect of artesunate was further confirmed in a house dust mite mouse asthma model.
Artesunate ameliorates experimental allergic airway inflammation probably via negative regulation of PI3K/Akt pathway and the downstream NF-κB activity. These findings provide a novel therapeutic value for artesunate in the treatment of allergic asthma.