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      Rauvolfia serpentina N-methyltransferases involved in ajmaline and Nβ -methylajmaline biosynthesis belong to a gene family derived from γ-tocopherol C-methyltransferase.

      The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology

      Wiley

      ajmaline Nβ-methyltransferase, monoterpenoid indole alkaloid, norajmaline N-methyltransferase, γ-tocopherol-like N-methyltransferase family, Apocynaceae, Rauvolfia serpentina

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          Abstract

          Ajmaline biosynthesis in Rauvolfia serpentina has been one of the most studied monoterpenoid indole alkaloid (MIA) pathways within the plant family Apocynaceae. Detailed molecular and biochemical information on most of the steps involved in the pathway has been generated over the last 30 years. Here we report the identification, molecular cloning and functional expression in Escherichia coli of two R. serpentinacDNAs that are part of a recently discovered γ-tocopherol-like N-methyltransferase (γ-TLMT) family and are involved in indole and side-chain N-methylation of ajmaline. Recombinant proteins showed remarkable substrate specificity for molecules with an ajmalan-type backbone and strict regiospecific N-methylation. Furthermore, N-methyltransferase gene transcripts and enzyme activity were enriched in R. serpentina roots which correlated with accumulation of ajmaline alkaloid. This study elucidates the final step in the ajmaline biosynthetic pathway and describes the enzyme responsible for the formation of Nβ -methylajmaline, an unusual charged MIA found in R. serpentina.

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          Chemistry and biology of monoterpene indole alkaloid biosynthesis.

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            Transcriptome analysis based on next-generation sequencing of non-model plants producing specialized metabolites of biotechnological interest.

            Plants produce a vast array of specialized metabolites, many of which are used as pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances, and other high-value fine chemicals. However, most of these compounds occur in non-model plants for which genomic sequence information is not yet available. The production of a large amount of nucleotide sequence data using next-generation technologies is now relatively fast and cost-effective, especially when using the latest Roche-454 and Illumina sequencers with enhanced base-calling accuracy. To investigate specialized metabolite biosynthesis in non-model plants we have established a data-mining framework, employing next-generation sequencing and computational algorithms, to construct and analyze the transcriptomes of 75 non-model plants that produce compounds of interest for biotechnological applications. After sequence assembly an extensive annotation approach was applied to assign functional information to over 800,000 putative transcripts. The annotation is based on direct searches against public databases, including RefSeq and InterPro. Gene Ontology (GO), Enzyme Commission (EC) annotations and associated Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway maps are also collected. As a proof-of-concept, the selection of biosynthetic gene candidates associated with six specialized metabolic pathways is described. A web-based BLAST server has been established to allow public access to assembled transcriptome databases for all 75 plant species of the PhytoMetaSyn Project (www.phytometasyn.ca). Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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              Opium poppy and Madagascar periwinkle: model non-model systems to investigate alkaloid biosynthesis in plants.

              Alkaloids represent a large and diverse group of compounds that are related by the occurrence of a nitrogen atom within a heterocyclic backbone. Unlike other types of secondary metabolites, the various structural categories of alkaloids are unrelated in terms of biosynthesis and evolution. Although the biology of each group is unique, common patterns have become apparent. Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), which produces several benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, and Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), which accumulates an array of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids, have emerged as the premier organisms used to study plant alkaloid metabolism. The status of these species as model systems results from decades of research on the chemistry, enzymology and molecular biology responsible for the biosynthesis of valuable pharmaceutical alkaloids. Opium poppy remains the only commercial source for morphine, codeine and semi-synthetic analgesics, such as oxycodone, derived from thebaine. Catharanthus roseus is the only source for the anti-cancer drugs vinblastine and vincristine. Impressive collections of cDNAs encoding biosynthetic enzymes and regulatory proteins involved in the formation of benzylisoquinoline and monoterpenoid indole alkaloids are now available, and the rate of gene discovery has accelerated with the application of genomics. Such tools have allowed the establishment of models that describe the complex cell biology of alkaloid metabolism in these important medicinal plants. A suite of biotechnological resources, including genetic transformation protocols, has allowed the application of metabolic engineering to modify the alkaloid content of these and related species. An overview of recent progress on benzylisoquinoline and monoterpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis in opium poppy and C. roseus is presented.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1111/tpj.13186
                27122470

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