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1.  Transcriptional regulation of the Papilio polyxenes CYP6B1 gene. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1994;22(15):3210-3217.
Detoxification of host plant defensive compounds by larval Lepidoptera is mediated by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) such as CYP6B1, which is expressed in Papilio polyxenes (black swallowtail) larvae in response to xanthotoxin, a linear furanocoumarin. Baculovirus-mediated expression of two cloned CYP6B1 cDNAs in lepidopteran cell lines has demonstrated that CYP6B1 isozymes primarily metabolize the linear furanocoumarins, xanthotoxin and bergapten, and not angular furanocoumarins. To characterize the regulatory features of the CYP6B1 transcription unit, we have isolated the first full-length CYP6B1v3 genomic DNA clone from P. polyxenes. The open reading frame of this gene is interrupted by a single intron and is virtually identical to the previously characterized CYP6B1 cDNAs. Primer extension and ribonuclease protection analyses have localized the transcription initiation site to a point 28 nucleotides upstream from the AUG initiation codon. RNase protection analyses on RNA from larvae induced by linear and angular furanocoumarins indicate that transcription of the CYP6B1 gene is induced in insects significantly in response to xanthotoxin and only slightly in response to bergapten. Angular furanocoumarins, such as angelicin, which are not appreciably metabolized by the CYP6B1 gene product, do not significantly induce transcription of this gene. We conclude that this P450 gene is transcriptionally regulated in vivo by at least one of the substrates which the encoded protein metabolizes. Transient expression of CAT fusion constructs in transfected Sf9 lepidopteran cells demonstrates that nucleotides -1 to -838 upstream from the CYP6B1v3 transcription initiation site retain basal and xanthotoxin-inducible transcriptional activities in this heterologous cell line. These data clearly indicate that P. polyxenes has adapted to the presence of furanocoumarins in its host plants by evolving P450 isozymes and regulatory cascades which respond to specific toxins.
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PMCID: PMC310298  PMID: 8065937
2.  Production of hydroxycinnamoyl-shikimates and chlorogenic acid in Escherichia coli: production of hydroxycinnamic acid conjugates 
Background
Hydroxycinnamates (HCs) are mainly produced in plants. Caffeic acid (CA), p-coumaric acid (PA), ferulic acid (FA) and sinapic acid (SA) are members of the HC family. The consumption of HC by human might prevent cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. The solubility of HCs is increased through thioester conjugation to various compounds such as quinic acid, shikimic acid, malic acid, anthranilic acid, and glycerol. Although hydroxycinnamate conjugates can be obtained from diverse plant sources such as coffee, tomato, potato, apple, and sweet potato, some parts of the world have limited availability to these compounds. Thus, there is growing interest in producing HC conjugates as nutraceutical supplements.
Results
Hydroxycinnamoyl transferases (HCTs) including hydroxycinnamate-CoA shikimate transferase (HST) and hydroxycinnamate-CoA quinate transferase (HQT) were co-expressed with 4-coumarateCoA:ligase (4CL) in Escherichia coli cultured in media supplemented with HCs. Two hydroxycinnamoyl conjugates, p-coumaroyl shikimates and chlorogenic acid, were thereby synthesized. Total 29.1 mg/L of four different p-coumaroyl shikimates (3-p-coumaroyl shikimate, 4-p-coumaroyl shikimate, 3,4-di-p-coumaroyl shikimate, 3,5-di-p-coumaroyl shikimate, and 4,5-di-p-coumaroyl shikimate) was obtained and 16 mg/L of chlorogenic acid was synthesized in the wild type E. coli strain. To increase the concentration of endogenous acceptor substrates such as shikimate and quinate, the shikimate pathway in E. coli was engineered. A E. coli aroL and aroK gene were mutated and the resulting mutants were used for the production of p-coumaroyl shikimate. An E. coli aroD mutant was used for the production of chlorogenic acid. We also optimized the vector and cell concentration optimization.
Conclusions
To produce p-coumaroyl-shikimates and chlorogenic acid in E. coli, several E. coli mutants (an aroD mutant for chlorogenic acid production; an aroL, aroK, and aroKL mutant for p-coumaroyl-shikimates production) were made and each mutant was tested using an optimized construct. Using this strategy, we produced 235 mg/L of p-coumaroyl-shikimates and 450 mg/L of chlorogenic acid.
doi:10.1186/1475-2859-12-15
PMCID: PMC3621256  PMID: 23383718
Chlorogenic acid; Hydroxycinnamic acid; Hydroxycinnamate-CoA quinate transferase; Hydroxycinnamate-CoA shikimate transferase
3.  Silencing an N-Acyltransferase-Like Involved in Lignin Biosynthesis in Nicotiana attenuata Dramatically Alters Herbivory-Induced Phenolamide Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62336.
In a transcriptomic screen of Manduca sexta-induced N-acyltransferases in leaves of Nicotiana attenuata, we identified an N-acyltransferase gene sharing a high similarity with the tobacco lignin-biosynthetic hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HCT) gene whose expression is controlled by MYB8, a transcription factor that regulates the production of phenylpropanoid polyamine conjugates (phenolamides, PAs). To evaluate the involvement of this HCT-like gene in lignin production as well as the resulting crosstalk with PA metabolism during insect herbivory, we transiently silenced (by VIGs) the expression of this gene and performed non-targeted (UHPLC-ESI/TOF-MS) metabolomics analyses. In agreement with a conserved function of N. attenuata HCT-like in lignin biogenesis, HCT-silenced plants developed weak, soft stems with greatly reduced lignin contents. Metabolic profiling demonstrated large shifts (up to 12% deregulation in total extracted ions in insect-attacked leaves) due to a large diversion of activated coumaric acid units into the production of developmentally and herbivory-induced coumaroyl-containing PAs (N′,N′′-dicoumaroylspermidine, N′,N′′-coumaroylputrescine, etc) and to minor increases in the most abundant free phenolics (chlorogenic and cryptochlorogenic acids), all without altering the production of well characterized herbivory-responsive caffeoyl- and feruloyl-based putrescine and spermidine PAs. These data are consistent with a strong metabolic tension, exacerbated during herbivory, over the allocation of coumaroyl-CoA units among lignin and unusual coumaroyl-containing PAs, and rule out a role for HCT-LIKE in tuning the herbivory-induced accumulation of other PAs. Additionally, these results are consistent with a role for lignification as an induced anti-herbivore defense.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062336
PMCID: PMC3660383  PMID: 23704878
4.  Isolation and functional characterization of a cDNA coding a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis in Cynara cardunculus L 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:14.
Background
Cynara cardunculus L. is an edible plant of pharmaceutical interest, in particular with respect to the polyphenolic content of its leaves. It includes three taxa: globe artichoke, cultivated cardoon, and wild cardoon. The dominating phenolics are the di-caffeoylquinic acids (such as cynarin), which are largely restricted to Cynara species, along with their precursor, chlorogenic acid (CGA). The scope of this study is to better understand CGA synthesis in this plant.
Results
A gene sequence encoding a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) involved in the synthesis of CGA, was identified. Isolation of the gene sequence was achieved by using a PCR strategy with degenerated primers targeted to conserved regions of orthologous HCT sequences available. We have isolated a 717 bp cDNA which shares 84% aminoacid identity and 92% similarity with a tobacco gene responsible for the biosynthesis of CGA from p-coumaroyl-CoA and quinic acid. In silico studies revealed the globe artichoke HCT sequence clustering with one of the main acyltransferase groups (i.e. anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyltransferase). Heterologous expression of the full length HCT (GenBank accession DQ104740) cDNA in E. coli demonstrated that the recombinant enzyme efficiently synthesizes both chlorogenic acid and p-coumaroyl quinate from quinic acid and caffeoyl-CoA or p-coumaroyl-CoA, respectively, confirming its identity as a hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: quinate HCT. Variable levels of HCT expression were shown among wild and cultivated forms of C. cardunculus subspecies. The level of expression was correlated with CGA content.
Conclusion
The data support the predicted involvement of the Cynara cardunculus HCT in the biosynthesis of CGA before and/or after the hydroxylation step of hydroxycinnamoyl esters.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-7-14
PMCID: PMC1847684  PMID: 17374149
5.  The isolation and mapping of a novel hydroxycinnamoyltransferase in the globe artichoke chlorogenic acid pathway 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:30.
Background
The leaves of globe artichoke and cultivated cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.) have significant pharmaceutical properties, which mainly result from their high content of polyphenolic compounds such as monocaffeoylquinic and dicaffeoylquinic acid (DCQ), and a range of flavonoid compounds.
Results
Hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HQT) encoding genes have been isolated from both globe artichoke and cultivated cardoon (GenBank accessions DQ915589 and DQ915590, respectively) using CODEHOP and PCR-RACE. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that their sequences belong to one of the major acyltransferase groups (anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyltransferase). The heterologous expression of globe artichoke HQT in E. coli showed that this enzyme can catalyze the esterification of quinic acid with caffeoyl-CoA or p-coumaroyl-CoA to generate, respectively, chlorogenic acid (CGA) and p-coumaroyl quinate. Real time PCR experiments demonstrated an increase in the expression level of HQT in UV-C treated leaves, and established a correlation between the synthesis of phenolic acids and protection against damage due to abiotic stress. The HQT gene, together with a gene encoding hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA:shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) previously isolated from globe artichoke, have been incorporated within the developing globe artichoke linkage maps.
Conclusion
A novel acyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of CGA in globe artichoke has been isolated, characterized and mapped. This is a good basis for our effort to understand the genetic basis of phenylpropanoid (PP) biosynthesis in C. cardunculus.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-30
PMCID: PMC2664813  PMID: 19292932
6.  Isolation and characterization of p-coumaroyl esterase from the anaerobic fungus Neocallimastix strain MC-2. 
An extracellular p-coumaroyl esterase produced by the anaerobic fungus Neocallimastix strain MC-2 released p-coumaroyl groups from 0-[5-0-((E)-p-coumaroyl)-alpha-L-arabinofuranosyl]-(1----3)-0-beta -D-xylopyranosyl-(1----4)-D-xylopyranose (PAXX). The esterase was purified 121-fold from culture medium in successive steps involving ultrafiltration column chromatography on S-sepharose and hydroxylapatite, isoelectric focusing, and gel filtration. The native enzyme had an apparent mass of 11 kDa under nondenaturing conditions and a mass of 5.8 kDa under denaturing conditions, suggesting that the enzyme may exist as a dimer. The isoelectric point was 4.7, and the pH optimum was 7.2. The purified esterase had 100 times more activity towards PAXX than towards the analogous feruloyl ester (FAXX). The apparent Km and Vmax of the purified p-coumaroyl esterase for PAXX at pH 7.2 and 40 degrees C were 19.4 microM and 5.1 microM min(-1), respectively. p-Coumaroyl tetrasaccharides isolated from plant cell walls were hydrolyzed at rates similar to that for PAXX, whereas a dimer of PAXX was hydrolyzed at a rate 20-fold lower, yielding 4,4'-dihydroxy-alpha-truxillic acid as an end product. Ethyl and methyl p-coumarates were hydrolyzed at very slow rates, if at all. The purified esterase released p-coumaroyl groups from finely, but not coarsely, ground plant cell walls, and this activity was enhanced by the addition of xylanase and other cell wall-degrading enzymes.
Images
PMCID: PMC183573  PMID: 1768103
7.  Metabolite and transcript profiling of berry skin during fruit development elucidates differential regulation between Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz cultivars at branching points in the polyphenol pathway 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:188.
Background
Grapevine berries undergo complex biochemical changes during fruit maturation, many of which are dependent upon the variety and its environment. In order to elucidate the varietal dependent developmental regulation of primary and specialized metabolism, berry skins of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were subjected to gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) based metabolite profiling from pre-veraison to harvest. The generated dataset was augmented with transcript profiling using RNAseq.
Results
The analysis of the metabolite data revealed similar developmental patterns of change in primary metabolites between the two cultivars. Nevertheless, towards maturity the extent of change in the major organic acid and sugars (i.e. sucrose, trehalose, malate) and precursors of aromatic and phenolic compounds such as quinate and shikimate was greater in Shiraz compared to Cabernet Sauvignon. In contrast, distinct directional projections on the PCA plot of the two cultivars samples towards maturation when using the specialized metabolite profiles were apparent, suggesting a cultivar-dependent regulation of the specialized metabolism. Generally, Shiraz displayed greater upregulation of the entire polyphenol pathway and specifically higher accumulation of piceid and coumaroyl anthocyanin forms than Cabernet Sauvignon from veraison onwards. Transcript profiling revealed coordinated increased transcript abundance for genes encoding enzymes of committing steps in the phenylpropanoid pathway. The anthocyanin metabolite profile showed F3′5′H-mediated delphinidin-type anthocyanin enrichment in both varieties towards maturation, consistent with the transcript data, indicating that the F3′5′H-governed branching step dominates the anthocyanin profile at late berry development. Correlation analysis confirmed the tightly coordinated metabolic changes during development, and suggested a source-sink relation between the central and specialized metabolism, stronger in Shiraz than Cabernet Sauvignon. RNAseq analysis also revealed that the two cultivars exhibited distinct pattern of changes in genes related to abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis enzymes.
Conclusions
Compared with CS, Shiraz showed higher number of significant correlations between metabolites, which together with the relatively higher expression of flavonoid genes supports the evidence of increased accumulation of coumaroyl anthocyanins in that cultivar. Enhanced stress related metabolism, e.g. trehalose, stilbene and ABA in Shiraz berry-skin are consistent with its relatively higher susceptibility to environmental cues.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0188-4
PMCID: PMC4222437  PMID: 25064275
Metabolite profiling; Grape berry metabolism; Grapevine; Transcript analysis; Metabolomics; GC-MS; LC-MS
8.  Identification, Characterization, and Expression of a Novel P450 Gene Encoding CYP6AE25 from the Asian Corn Borer, Ostrinia furnacalis  
An allele of the cytochrome P450 gene, CYP6AE14, named CYP6AE25 (GenBank accession no. EU807990) was isolated from the Asian com borer, Ostrinia fumacalis (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) by RT-PCR. The cDNA sequence of CYP6AE25 is 2315 bp in length and contains a 1569 nucleotides open reading frame encoding a putative protein with 523 amino acid residues and a predicted molecular weight of 59.95 kDa and a theoretical pI of 8.31. The putative protein contains the classic heme-binding sequence motif F××G×××C×G (residues 451–460) conserved among all P450 enzymes as well as other characteristic motifs of all cytochrome P450s. It shares 52% identity with the previously published sequence of CYP6AE14 (GenBank accession no. DQ986461) from Helicoverpa armigera. Phylogenetic analysis of amino acid sequences from members of various P450 families indicated that CYP6AE25 has a closer phylogenetic relationship with CYP6AE14 and CYP6B1 that are related to metabolism of plant allelochemicals, CYP6D1 which is related to pyrethroid resistance and has a more distant relationship to CYP302A1 and CYP307A1 which are related to synthesis of the insect molting hormones. The expression level of the gene in the adults and immature stages of O. furnacalis by quantitative real-time PCR revealed that CYP6AE25 was expressed in all life stages investigated. The mRNA expression level in 3rd instar larvae was 12.8- and 2.97-fold higher than those in pupae and adults, respectively. The tissue specific expression level of CYP6AE25 was in the order of midgut, malpighian tube and fatty body from high to low but was absent in ovary and brain. The analysis of the CYP6AB25 gene using bioinformatic software is discussed.
doi:10.1673/031.011.0137
PMCID: PMC3281464  PMID: 21529257
cytochrome P450; real-time PCR; bioinformatics
9.  Effects of Naturally Occurring Coumarins on Hepatic Drug Metabolizing Enzymes in Mice 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2008;232(2):337-350.
Cytochromes P450 (P450s) and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) constitute two important enzyme families involved in carcinogen metabolism. Generally, P450s play activation or detoxifying roles while GSTs act primarily as detoxifying enzymes. We previously demonstrated that oral administration of the linear furanocoumarins, isopimpinellin and imperatorin, modulated P450 and GST activities in various tissues of mice. The purpose of the present study was to compare a broader range of naturally occurring coumarins (simple coumarins, and furanocoumarins of the linear and angular type) for their abilities to modulate hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes when administered orally to mice. We now report that all of the different coumarins tested (coumarin, limettin, auraptene, angelicin, bergamottin, imperatorin and isopimpinellin) induced hepatic GST activities, whereas the linear furanocoumarins possessed the greatest abilities to induce hepatic P450 activities, in particular P450 2B and 3A. In both cases, this corresponded to an increase in protein expression of the enzymes. Induction of P4502B10, 3A11, and 2C9 by xenobiotics often are a result of activation of the pregnane X receptor (PXR) and/or constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). Using a pregnane X receptor reporter system, our results demonstrated that isopimpinellin activated both PXR and its human ortholog SXR by recruiting coactivator SRC-1 in transfected cells. In CAR transfection assays, isopimpinellin counteracted the inhibitory effect of androstanol on full length mCAR, a Gal4-mCAR ligand binding domain fusion, and restored coactivator binding. Orally administered isopimpinellin induced hepatic mRNA expression of Cyp2b10,Cyp3a1, GSTa in CAR(+/+) wild-type mice. In contrast, the induction of Cyp2b10 mRNA by isopimpinellin was attenuated in the CAR(−/−) mice, suggesting that isopimpinellin induces Cyp2b10 via the CAR receptor. Overall, the current data indicate that naturally occurring coumarins have diverse activities in terms of inducing various xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes based on their chemical structure.
doi:10.1016/j.taap.2008.07.004
PMCID: PMC2585982  PMID: 18692084
coumarins; furanocoumarins; P450s; pregnane X-receptor; constitutive androstane receptor
10.  Increased copy-number and not DNA hypomethylation causes overexpression of the candidate proto-oncogene CYP24A1 in colorectal cancer 
In colorectal cancer (CRC) the vitamin D catabolizing enzyme 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1) is overexpressed with a potentially significant, positive impact on the catabolism of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-D3). However, the underlying mechanism of CYP24A1 overexpression is poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated possible causes including hypomethylation of the CYP24A1 promoter, amplification of the CYP24A1 gene locus (20q13.2), and altered expression of CYP24A1-specific transcription factors. We quantified CYP24A1 gene copy-number, performed bisulfite sequencing of the CYP24A1 promoter to assess DNA methylation, and measured mRNA expression of CYP24A1, 25-hydroxyvitamin D 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1), vitamin D receptor (VDR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR). We found that 77 (60%) out of 127 colorectal tumors showed increased CYP24A1 gene copy-number and that more than 6 copies of CYP24A1 correlated positively with CYP24A1 mRNA expression suggestive of a causal relationship. No differences in CYP24A1 promoter methylation were found between tumor tissue and adjacent mucosa from the same patient or between tissues with high or low mRNA expression, thus excluding DNA hypomethylation as a possible cause of CYP24A1 overexpression in CRC. Furthermore, mRNA expression of several factors involved in replication licensing positively correlated with CYP24A1 mRNA expression, raising the possibility that CYP24A1 overexpression might favor increased proliferation in tumors by suppressing local 1,25-D3 levels. We conclude that high copy-number gain is a key determinant of CYP24A1 overexpression in CRC. Other postulated causes of CYP24A1 overexpression including promoter hypomethylation and enhanced VDR and/or RXR expression do not appear to be involved.
What’s new?
Recently, it has been suggested that the association between colorectal cancer and reduced levels of circulating vitamin D may be related to overexpression of the vitamin D-catabolizing enzyme, CYP24A1 in the tumor. In this search for a mechanistic explanation, increased CYP24A1 gene copy number was associated with the enzyme’s overexpression in 60 percent of colorectal tumors, and expression was correlated strongly with proliferation markers. The findings suggest that CYP24A1 overexpression is likely to deplete tumor calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) levels, possibly increasing the proliferative potential of the tumors.
doi:10.1002/ijc.28143
PMCID: PMC3807607  PMID: 23463632
CYP24A1; colorectal cancer; 20q13.2; methylation; proliferation
11.  Scopoletin is a phytoalexin against Alternaria alternata in wild tobacco dependent on jasmonate signalling 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(15):4305-4315.
Summary
This study demonstrates that wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata plants accumulate the phytoalexin scopoletin to defend against the necrotrophic fungus Alternaria alternata in a JA signalling-dependent manner.
Alternaria alternata (tobacco pathotype) is a necrotrophic fungus causing severe losses in Nicotiana species by infection of mature leaves. Similar to what has been observed in cultivated tobacco, N. tabacum, young leaves of wild tobacco, N. attenuata, were more resistant to A. alternata than mature leaves, and this was correlated with stronger blue fluorescence induced after infection. However, the nature of the fluorescence-emitting compound, its role in defence, and its regulation were not clear. Silencing feruloyl-CoA 6ʹ-hydroxylase 1 (F6ʹH1), the gene encoding the key enzyme for scopoletin biosynthesis, by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) revealed that the blue fluorescence was mainly emitted by scopoletin and its β-glycoside form, scopolin. Further analysis showed that scopoletin exhibited strong antifungal activity against A. alternata in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, jasmonic acid (JA) levels were highly elicited in young leaves but much less in mature leaves after infection; and fungus-elicited scopoletin was absent in JA-deficient plants, but was largely restored with methyl jasmonate treatments. Consistent with this, plants strongly impaired in JA biosynthesis and perception were highly susceptible to A. alternata in the same way scopoletin/scopolin-depleted VIGS F6ʹH1 plants. Furthermore, silencing MYC2, a master regulator of most JA responses, reduced A. alternata-induced NaF6ʹH1 transcripts and scopoletin. Thus, it is concluded that JA signalling is activated in N. attenuata leaves after infection, which subsequently regulates scopoletin biosynthesis for the defence against A. alternata partly through MYC2, and higher levels of scopoletin accumulated in young leaves account for their strong resistance.
doi:10.1093/jxb/eru203
PMCID: PMC4112635  PMID: 24821958
Alternaria alternata; feruloyl-CoA 6ʹ -hydroxylase 1 (F6ʹH1); jasmonic acid (JA); MYC2; Nicotiana attenuata; scopoletin; virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS).
12.  Identification and characterisation of CYP75A31, a new flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase, isolated from Solanum lycopersicum 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:21.
Background
Understanding the regulation of the flavonoid pathway is important for maximising the nutritional value of crop plants and possibly enhancing their resistance towards pathogens. The flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H) enzyme functions at an important branch point between flavonol and anthocyanin synthesis, as is evident from studies in petunia (Petunia hybrida), and potato (Solanum tuberosum). The present work involves the identification and characterisation of a F3'5'H gene from tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and the examination of its putative role in flavonoid metabolism.
Results
The cloned and sequenced tomato F3'5'H gene was named CYP75A31. The gene was inserted into the pYeDP60 expression vector and the corresponding protein produced in yeast for functional characterisation. Several putative substrates for F3'5'H were tested in vitro using enzyme assays on microsome preparations. The results showed that two hydroxylation steps occurred. Expression of the CYP75A31 gene was also tested in vivo, in various parts of the vegetative tomato plant, along with other key genes of the flavonoid pathway using real-time PCR. A clear response to nitrogen depletion was shown for CYP75A31 and all other genes tested. The content of rutin and kaempferol-3-rutinoside was found to increase as a response to nitrogen depletion in most parts of the plant, however the growth conditions used in this study did not lead to accumulation of anthocyanins.
Conclusions
CYP75A31 (NCBI accession number GQ904194), encodes a flavonoid 3'5'-hydroxylase, which accepts flavones, flavanones, dihydroflavonols and flavonols as substrates. The expression of the CYP75A31 gene was found to increase in response to nitrogen deprivation, in accordance with other genes in the phenylpropanoid pathway, as expected for a gene involved in flavonoid metabolism.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-21
PMCID: PMC2825239  PMID: 20128892
13.  Biosynthesis of plant-specific stilbene polyketides in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli 
BMC Biotechnology  2006;6:22.
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-6-22
PMCID: PMC1435877  PMID: 16551366
14.  Preliminary In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of Antidiabetic Activity of Ducrosia anethifolia Boiss. and Its Linear Furanocoumarins 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:480545.
Aim. Ducrosia anethifolia is used as flavoring additive. There have been little detailed phytochemical reports on this genus and the antidiabetic activity of this plant is not yet evaluated. Method. Structure of compounds was deduced by spectroscopic analyses. Preliminary in vitro evaluation of the antidiabetic activity of crude extract and its furanocoumarins was carried out (α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and β-galactosidase). The in vivo activity was investigated by measuring some oxidative stress markers. Biomarkers of liver injury and kidney were also determined. Results. Eight linear furanocoumarins, psoralen, 5-methoxypsoralen, 8-methoxypsoralen, imperatorin, isooxypeucedanin, pabulenol, oxypeucedanin methanolate, oxypeucedanin hydrate, and 3-O-glucopyranosyl-β-sitosterol, were isolated. All compounds were reported for the first time from the genus Ducrosia except pabulenol. The blood glucose level, liver function enzymes, total protein, lipid, and cholesterol levels were significantly normalized by extract treatment. The antioxidant markers, glucolytic, and gluconeogenic enzymes were significantly ameliorated and the elevated level of kidney biomarkers in the diabetic groups was restored. The compounds showed inhibitory activity in a concentration dependant manner. Imperatorin and 5-methoxypsoralen showed the most potent inhibiting power. Conclusion. D. anethifolia extract showed hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and antioxidant effect as well as ameliorating kidney function. This extract and some linear furanocoumarins exhibited carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes inhibitory effect.
doi:10.1155/2014/480545
PMCID: PMC3988972  PMID: 24800231
15.  p-Coumaroyl-CoA:monolignol transferase (PMT) acts specifically in the lignin biosynthetic pathway in Brachypodium distachyon 
The Plant Journal  2014;77(5):713-726.
Grass lignins contain substantial amounts of p-coumarate (pCA) that acylate the side-chains of the phenylpropanoid polymer backbone. An acyltransferase, named p-coumaroyl-CoA:monolignol transferase (OsPMT), that could acylate monolignols with pCA in vitro was recently identified from rice. In planta, such monolignol-pCA conjugates become incorporated into lignin via oxidative radical coupling, thereby generating the observed pCA appendages; however p-coumarates also acylate arabinoxylans in grasses. To test the authenticity of PMT as a lignin biosynthetic pathway enzyme, we examined Brachypodium distachyon plants with altered BdPMT gene function. Using newly developed cell wall analytical methods, we determined that the transferase was involved specifically in monolignol acylation. A sodium azide-generated Bdpmt-1 missense mutant had no (<0.5%) residual pCA on lignin, and BdPMT RNAi plants had levels as low as 10% of wild-type, whereas the amounts of pCA acylating arabinosyl units on arabinoxylans in these PMT mutant plants remained unchanged. pCA acylation of lignin from BdPMT-overexpressing plants was found to be more than three-fold higher than that of wild-type, but again the level on arabinosyl units remained unchanged. Taken together, these data are consistent with a defined role for grass PMT genes in encoding BAHD (BEAT, AHCT, HCBT, and DAT) acyltransferases that specifically acylate monolignols with pCA and produce monolignol p-coumarate conjugates that are used for lignification in planta.
doi:10.1111/tpj.12420
PMCID: PMC4282527  PMID: 24372757
BAHD acyltransferase; biomass; Brachypodium distachyon; DFRC method; grass; lignin; lignin acylation; NMR; thioacidolysis
16.  Identification and developmental expression of the full complement of Cytochrome P450 genes in Zebrafish 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:643.
Background
Increasing use of zebrafish in drug discovery and mechanistic toxicology demands knowledge of cytochrome P450 (CYP) gene regulation and function. CYP enzymes catalyze oxidative transformation leading to activation or inactivation of many endogenous and exogenous chemicals, with consequences for normal physiology and disease processes. Many CYPs potentially have roles in developmental specification, and many chemicals that cause developmental abnormalities are substrates for CYPs. Here we identify and annotate the full suite of CYP genes in zebrafish, compare these to the human CYP gene complement, and determine the expression of CYP genes during normal development.
Results
Zebrafish have a total of 94 CYP genes, distributed among 18 gene families found also in mammals. There are 32 genes in CYP families 5 to 51, most of which are direct orthologs of human CYPs that are involved in endogenous functions including synthesis or inactivation of regulatory molecules. The high degree of sequence similarity suggests conservation of enzyme activities for these CYPs, confirmed in reports for some steroidogenic enzymes (e.g. CYP19, aromatase; CYP11A, P450scc; CYP17, steroid 17a-hydroxylase), and the CYP26 retinoic acid hydroxylases. Complexity is much greater in gene families 1, 2, and 3, which include CYPs prominent in metabolism of drugs and pollutants, as well as of endogenous substrates. There are orthologous relationships for some CYP1 s and some CYP3 s between zebrafish and human. In contrast, zebrafish have 47 CYP2 genes, compared to 16 in human, with only two (CYP2R1 and CYP2U1) recognized as orthologous based on sequence. Analysis of shared synteny identified CYP2 gene clusters evolutionarily related to mammalian CYP2 s, as well as unique clusters.
Conclusions
Transcript profiling by microarray and quantitative PCR revealed that the majority of zebrafish CYP genes are expressed in embryos, with waves of expression of different sets of genes over the course of development. Transcripts of some CYP occur also in oocytes. The results provide a foundation for the use of zebrafish as a model in toxicological, pharmacological and chemical disease research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-643
PMCID: PMC3012610  PMID: 21087487
17.  Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for reproductive problems 
Background
Throughout history women have tried to control or enhance their fertility using herbal remedies, with various levels of societal support. Caribbean folk medicine has been influenced by European folk medicine, either through the early Spanish and French settlers or through the continuous immigration of Spanish-speaking peoples from Venezuela. Some folk uses are ancient and were documented by Galen and Pliny the Elder.
Methods
Thirty respondents, ten of whom were male were interviewed from September 1996 to September 2000. The respondents were obtained by snowball sampling, and were found in thirteen different sites, 12 in Trinidad (Paramin, Talparo, Sangre Grande, Mayaro, Carapichaima, Kernahan, Newlands, Todd's Road, Arima, Guayaguayare, Santa Cruz, Port of Spain and Siparia) and one in Tobago (Mason Hall). Snowball sampling was used because there was no other means of identifying respondents and to cover the entire islands. The validation of the remedies was conducted with a non-experimental method.
Results
Plants are used for specific problems of both genders. Clusea rosea, Urena sinuata and Catharanthus roseus are used for unspecified male problems. Richeria grandis and Parinari campestris are used for erectile dysfunction.
Ageratum conyzoides, Scoparia dulcis, Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Gomphrena globosa and Justicia pectoralis are used for prostate problems.
The following plants are used for childbirth and infertility: Mimosa pudica, Ruta graveolens,
Abelmoschus moschatus, Chamaesyce hirta, Cola nitida, Ambrosia cumanenesis, Pilea microphylla, Eryngium foetidum, Aristolochia rugosa, Aristolochia trilobata, Coleus aromaticus, Laportea aestuans and Vetiveria zizanioides.
The following plants are used for menstrual pain and unspecified female complaints:
Achyranthes indica, Artemisia absinthium, Brownea latifolia, Eleutherine bulbosa, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Eupatorium macrophyllum, Justicia secunda, Parthenium hysterophorus, Wedelia trilobata, Abelmoschus moschatus, Capraria biflora, Cordia curassavica, Croton gossypifolius, Entada polystachya, Leonotis nepetaefolia, Eryngium foetidum, Aristolochia rugosa, Aristolochia trilobata and Ambrosia cumanenesis.
Conclusion
Native Caribbean plants have been less studied that those from Africa, India and Europe. Chamaesyce hirta has scientific support but as a diuretic. Other plants with level 3 validity for reproductive issues are: Achyranthes indica, Coleus aromaticus, Hibiscus rosa-sinesis, Parthenium hysterophorus and Ruta graveolens. The non-experimental validation method can be used to advise the public on which plants are safe, effective and useful, and which are not; pending clinical trials. This is especially important since so few clinical trials are conducted on Caribbean plants.
doi:10.1186/1746-4269-3-13
PMCID: PMC1838898  PMID: 17362507
18.  Identity and pharmacognosy of Ruta graveolens Linn 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;32(1):16-19.
Ruta graveolens L., is a odoriferous herb belonging to the family Rutaceae. It is the source of Rue or Rue oil, called as Sadab or Satab in Hindi. It is distributed throughout the world and cultivated as a medicinal and ornamental herb. The ancient Greeks and Romans, held the plant in high esteem. It is used in Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani. Phytochemical constituents and pharmacological properties were studied in depth. In 14 species of genus Ruta, R. graveolens and R. chalepensis are available in India and also cultivated in gardens. Taxonomical characters to identify the Indian plants are very clear with fringed and or non-fringed petals. However, references to it are confused in the traditional literature. Due to sharing of regional language name, its identity is confused with Euphorbia dracunculoides. Morphological and anatomical characters were described. Pharmacognostic studies with microscopic characters were also published. Upon reviewing the anatomical characters and pharmacognostic characters one finds that it is highly confused and conflicting. The characters described are opposite of each other and authenticity of the market sample of R. graveolens cannot be guaranteed and able to be differentiated from R. chalepensis. Present work is to describe the pharmacognostic characters of R. graveolens to differentiate it from R. chalepensis. It is concluded that morphologically, R. graveolens can be identified with its non-fringed petals and blunted apices of fruit lobes. Whereas, in R. chalepensis petals are fringed or ciliated and apices of the fruit lobes are sharp and projected. Microscopically, in stem of R. graveolens pericyclic fibers have wide lumen. Whereas, in R. chalepensis, it is narrow. The published pharmacognosy reports do not pertain to authentic plant or some of the characteristic features like glandular trichomes are not observed in our samples.
doi:10.4103/0257-7941.113792
PMCID: PMC3733200  PMID: 23929988
Pharmacognosy; ruta chalepensis; ruta graveolens; rutaceae
19.  Cytochrome P450-Dependent Metabolism of Caffeine in Drosophila melanogaster 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117328.
Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine), an alkaloid produced by plants, has antioxidant and insecticide properties that can affect metabolism and cognition. In vertebrates, the metabolites derived from caffeine have been identified, and their functions have been characterized. However, the metabolites of caffeine in insects remain unknown. Thus, using radiolabelled caffeine, we have identified some of the primary caffeine metabolites produced in the body of Drosophila melanogaster males, including theobromine, paraxanthine and theophylline. In contrast to mammals, theobromine was the predominant metabolite (paraxanthine in humans; theophylline in monkeys; 1, 3, 7-trimethyluric acid in rodents). A transcriptomic screen of Drosophila flies exposed to caffeine revealed the coordinated variation of a large set of genes that encode xenobiotic-metabolizing proteins, including several cytochromes P450s (CYPs) that were highly overexpressed. Flies treated with metyrapone—an inhibitor of CYP enzymes—showed dramatically decreased caffeine metabolism, indicating that CYPs are involved in this process. Using interference RNA genetic silencing, we measured the metabolic and transcriptomic effect of three candidate CYPs. Silencing of CYP6d5 completely abolished theobromine synthesis, whereas CYP6a8 and CYP12d1 silencing induced different consequences on metabolism and gene expression. Therefore, we characterized several metabolic products and some enzymes potentially involved in the degradation of caffeine. In conclusion, this pioneer approach to caffeine metabolism in insects opens novel perspectives for the investigation of the physiological effects of caffeine metabolites. It also indicates that caffeine could be used as a biomarker to evaluate CYP phenotypes in Drosophila and other insects.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117328
PMCID: PMC4324904  PMID: 25671424
20.  Rapid Quantitation of Furanocoumarins and Flavonoids in Grapefruit Juice using Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography 
Phytochemical analysis : PCA  2013;24(6):10.1002/pca.2449.
Introduction
Grapefruit juice can increase or decrease the systemic exposure of myriad oral medications, leading to untoward effects or reduced efficacy. Furanocoumarins in grapefruit juice have been established as inhibitors of cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A)-mediated metabolism and P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-mediated efflux, while flavonoids have been implicated as inhibitors of organic anion transporting polypeptide (OATP)-mediated absorptive uptake in the intestine. The potential for drug interactions with a food product necessitates an understanding of the expected concentrations of a suite of structurally diverse and potentially bioactive compounds.
Objective
Develop methods for the rapid quantitation of two furanocoumarins (bergamottin and 6′,7′-dihydroxybergamottin) and four flavonoids (naringin, naringenin, narirutin, and hesperidin) in five grapefruit juice products using ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC).
Methodology
Grapefruit juice products were extracted with ethyl acetate; the concentrated extract was analyzed by UPLC using acetonitrile:water gradients and a C18 column. Analytes were detected using a photodiode array detector, set at 250 nm (furanocoumarins) and 310 nm (flavonoids). Intraday and interday precision and accuracy and limits of detection and quantitation were determined.
Results
Rapid (<5.0 min) UPLC methods were developed to measure the aforementioned furanocoumarins and flavonoids. R2 values for the calibration curves of all analytes were >0.999. Considerable between-juice variation in the concentrations of these compounds was observed, and the quantities measured were in agreement with the concentrations published in HPLC studies.
Conclusion
These analytical methods provide an expedient means to quantitate key furanocoumarins and flavonoids in grapefruit juice and other foods used in dietary substance-drug interaction studies.
doi:10.1002/pca.2449
PMCID: PMC3855432  PMID: 23780830
Grapefruit; furanocoumarin; flavonoid; quantitation; UPLC
21.  Molecular characterization of two A-type P450s, WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A from Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal: expression analysis and withanolide accumulation in response to exogenous elicitations 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14(1):89.
Background
Pharmacological investigations position withanolides as important bioactive molecules demanding their enhanced production. Therefore, one of the pivotal aims has been to gain knowledge about complete biosynthesis of withanolides in terms of enzymatic and regulatory genes of the pathway. However, the pathway remains elusive at the molecular level. P450s monooxygenases play a crucial role in secondary metabolism and predominantly help in functionalizing molecule core structures including withanolides.
Results
In an endeavor towards identification and characterization of different P450s, we here describe molecular cloning, characterization and expression analysis of two A-type P450s, WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A from Withania somnifera. Full length cDNAs of WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A have open reading frames of 1536 and 1545 bp encoding 511 (58.0 kDa) and 515 (58.7 kDa) amino acid residues, respectively. Entire coding sequences of WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A cDNAs were expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) using pGEX4T-2 expression vector. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis indicated that both genes express widely in leaves, stalks, roots, flowers and berries with higher expression levels of WsCYP98A in stalks while WsCYP76A transcript levels were more obvious in roots. Further, transcript profiling after methyl jasmonate, salicylic acid, and gibberellic acid elicitations displayed differential transcriptional regulation of WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A. Copious transcript levels of both P450s correlated positively with the higher production of withanolides.
Conclusions
Two A-types P450 WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A were isolated, sequenced and heterologously expressed in E. coli. Both P450s are spatially regulated at transcript level showing differential tissue specificity. Exogenous elicitors acted as both positive and negative regulators of mRNA transcripts. Methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid resulted in copious expression of WsCYP98A and WsCYP76A. Enhanced mRNA levels also corroborated well with the increased accumulation of withanolides in response to elicitations. The empirical findings suggest that elicitors possibly incite defence or stress responses of the plant by triggering higher accumulation of withanolides.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12896-014-0089-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12896-014-0089-5
PMCID: PMC4247701  PMID: 25416924
Withania somnifera; Withanolides; Cytochrome P450 monooxygenase; mRNA; Phytohormones; E.coli
22.  Acute Effects of Ruta graveolens L. on Sperm Parameters and DNA Integrity in Rats 
Background
Increase in world population is one of the serious and threatening issues in this century. Therefore, it is vitally important to find safe and effective contraceptive methods, especially for men which already have few choices in this regard. Medicinal plants that were used for contraception in ancient times could be good sources of investigation in this filed. Ruta graveolens L. is one the plants introduced in the Iranian traditional medicine as an oral male contraception to be used before intercourse. In this study we tried to investigate the probable effects of the plant on the spermatozoa of male rats.
Methods
Ruta graveolens L. aqueous extract (5 g/kg) was administered orally to five groups of male rats and sperm motility was checked after half, one, two, four and six hours later. Moreover, one group of rats served as the control group. Subsequently, viability of cells (Eosin-Nigrosin staining), morphological changes (Diff-Quick staining), DNA status (acridine orange dye) and serum testosterone levels were assessed in the treated groups which had significant immotile spermatozoa. For statistical analysis, Student's t-test and one-way ANOVA with Tukey's post-hoc test were employed for comparison between groups.
Results
A significant reduction in sperm motility was seen one hour after administration of the extract in the case groups compared to the controls (36% vs. 68.15%, respectively, p <0.01). The motility gradually increased afterwards, and by 6 hours, it was the same as the control group (65.43% and 68.15%, respectively). No significant changes were seen in viability, morphology or DNA structure of spermatozoa in each group. Testosterone levels did not show any significant changes in the treated groups when compared with the controls.
Conclusion
Since a significant temporary immobility of spermatozoa without any adverse effects on other sperm characteristics occurred upon the administration of Ruta graveolens L. aqueous extract, it seems that this plant might have the potential to be used for the suggested male contraception.
PMCID: PMC3719372  PMID: 23926522
Male contraception; Rat; Ruta graveolens L.; Sperm function assay; Spermatozoa; Iranian traditional medicine
23.  Reduction of inositol (1,4,5)–trisphosphate affects the overall phosphoinositol pathway and leads to modifications in light signalling and secondary metabolism in tomato plants 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;63(2):825-835.
The phosphoinositol pathway is one of the major eukaryotic signalling pathways. The metabolite of the phosphoinositol pathway, inositol- (1,4,5) trisphosphate (InsP3), is a regulator of plant responses to a wide variety of stresses, including light, drought, cold, and salinity. It was found that the expression of InsP 5-ptase, the enzyme that hydrolyses InsP3, also dramatically affects the levels of inositol phosphate metabolites and the secondary metabolites in transgenic tomato plants. Tomato plants expressing InsP 5-ptase exhibited a reduction in the levels of several important inositol phosphates, including InsP1, InsP2, InsP3, and InsP4. Reduced levels of inositol phosphates accompanied an increase in the accumulation of phenylpropanoids (rutin, chlorogenic acid) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the transgenic fruits of tomato plants. The enhanced accumulation of these metabolites in transgenic tomato plants was in direct correspondence with the observed up-regulation of the genes that express the key enzymes of ascorbic acid metabolism (myo-inositol oxygenase, MIOX; L-galactono-γ-lactone dehydrogenase, GLDH) and phenylpropanoid metabolism (chalcone synthase, CHS1; cinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate transferase, HCT). To understand the molecular links between the activation of different branches of plant metabolism and InsP3 reduction in tomato fruits, the expression of transcription factors known to be involved in light signalling was analysed by real-time RT-PCR. The expression of LeHY5, SIMYB12, and LeELIP was found to be higher in fruits expressing InsP 5-ptase. These results suggest possible interconnections between phosphoinositol metabolism, light signalling, and secondary metabolism in plants. Our study also revealed the biotechnological potential for the genetic improvement of crop plants by the manipulation of the phosphoinositol pathway.
doi:10.1093/jxb/err306
PMCID: PMC3254682  PMID: 21994174
Ascorbic acid; LeHY5 transcriptional factor; light signaling; phenylpropanoids; phosphoinositols
24.  Antagonistic Regulation, Yet Synergistic Defense: Effect of Bergapten and Protease Inhibitor on Development of Cowpea Bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e41877.
The furanocoumarin compound bergapten is a plant secondary metabolite that has anti-insect function. When incorporated into artificial diet, it retarded cowpea bruchid development, decreased fecundity, and caused mortality at a sufficient dose. cDNA microarray analysis indicated that cowpea bruchid altered expression of 543 midgut genes in response to dietary bergapten. Among these bergapten-regulated genes, 225 have known functions; for instance, those encoding proteins related to nutrient transport and metabolism, development, detoxification, defense and various cellular functions. Such differential gene regulation presumably facilitates the bruchids' countering the negative effect of dietary bergapten. Many genes did not have homology (E-value cutoff 10−6) with known genes in a BlastX search (206), or had homology only with genes of unknown function (112). Interestingly, when compared with the transcriptomic profile of cowpea bruchids treated with dietary soybean cysteine protease inhibitor N (scN), 195 out of 200 coregulated midgut genes are oppositely regulated by the two compounds. Simultaneous administration of bergapten and scN attenuated magnitude of change in selected oppositely-regulated genes, as well as led to synergistic delay in insect development. Therefore, targeting insect vulnerable sites that may compromise each other's counter-defensive response has the potential to increase the efficacy of the anti-insect molecules.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041877
PMCID: PMC3424127  PMID: 22927917
25.  The Effects of Hydroalcoholic Extract of Apium graveolens Leaf on the Number of Sexual Cells and Testicular Structure in Rat 
Background:
Use of medicinal plants with high antioxidant properties could be effective to increase fertility and improvement of disorders such as hormonal imbalance, impotency, oligospermia and immotile sperm. Celery (Apium graveolens) is rich in antioxidant agents. The leaf and stems of celery contain phenols, furanocoumarin and luteolin. Apigenin is one of the main flavonoids of celery leaf.
Objectives:
This study aimed to investigate the effects of hydroalcoholic extract of celery on histological properties of testis and number of sexual cells in male rats.
Materials and Methods:
Thirty-two male Wistar rats were divided into four groups of eight rats each. Control, did not receive any medication; sham, received normal saline; and two groups received celery extract orally in dosages of 100 and 200 mg/kg/BW once every two days for 60 days. At the end, animals were anesthetized, and caudal part of the right epididymis was used for sperm counting. After fixation of testis, tissue sections were prepared and studied microscopically to evaluate morphometric (lumen diameter, number of primary spermatocyte and sertoli cell) and histological changes. Data was analyzed by one-way ANOVA test using SPSS15 software. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results:
There was a significant increase in the number of sperms, sertoli cells, and primary spermatocyte (P < 0.05) in groups receiving extract; however, structural changes were not observed in the groups.
Conclusions:
It seems that celery increases spermatogenesis in male rats, but has no destructive effects on testicular tissue.
PMCID: PMC4302398  PMID: 25625050
Apium graveolens; Testicular Structure; Rat; Extract

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