The phytohormone ethylene (ET) is a crucial signaling molecule that induces the biosynthesis of shikonin and its derivatives in Lithospermum erythrorhizon shoot cultures. However, the molecular mechanism and the positive regulators involved in this physiological process are largely unknown. In this study, the function of LeACS-1, a key gene encoding the 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase for ET biosynthesis in L. erythrorhizon hairy roots, was characterized by using overexpression and RNA interference (RNAi) strategies. The results showed that overexpression of LeACS-1 significantly increased endogenous ET concentration and shikonin production, consistent with the up-regulated genes involved in ET biosynthesis and transduction, as well as the genes related to shikonin biosynthesis. Conversely, RNAi of LeACS-1 effectively decreased endogenous ET concentration and shikonin production and down-regulated the expression level of above genes. Correlation analysis showed a significant positive linear relationship between ET concentration and shikonin production. All these results suggest that LeACS-1 acts as a positive regulator of ethylene-induced shikonin biosynthesis in L. erythrorhizon hairy roots. Our work not only gives new insights into the understanding of the relationship between ET and shikonin biosynthesis, but also provides an efficient genetic engineering target gene for secondary metabolite production in non-model plant L. erythrorhizon.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2016
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