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Mol Biol Rep. 2013 Jul;40(7):4301-10. doi: 10.1007/s11033-013-2517-3. Epub 2013 May 4.

The phenylalanine ammonia-lyase gene family in Salvia miltiorrhiza: genome-wide characterization, molecular cloning and expression analysis.

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Institute of Biodiversity, College of Life Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen, 041004, China.


Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge is a well-known material of traditional Chinese medicine. Hydrophilic phenolic acids, such as rosmarinic acid and salvianolic acid B, are a group of pharmaceutically important compounds in S. miltiorrhiza. The biosynthesis of rosmarinic acid requires the coordination of the phenylpropanoid pathway and the tyrosine-derived pathway. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) is the first key enzyme of the phenylpropanoid pathway. Systematic analysis of the SmPAL gene family has not been carried out. We report here the identification of three SmPALs through searching the recently obtained working draft of the S. miltiorrhiza genome and full-length cDNA cloning. Bioinformatic and phylogenetic analyses showed that SmPAL1 and SmPAL3 clustered in a sub-clade of dicot PALs, whereas SmPAL2 fell into the other one. Some important cis-elements were conserved in three SmPAL promoters, whereas the others were not. SmPAL1 and SmPAL3 were highly expressed in roots and leaves of S. miltiorrhiza, but SmPAL2 were predominately expressed in stems and flowers. It indicates that SmPAL1 and SmPAL3 function redundantly in rosmarinic acid biosynthesis. All SmPALs were induced in roots treated with PEG and MeJA, but the time and degree of responses were different, suggesting the complexity of SmPAL-associated metabolic network in S. miltiorrhiza. This is the first comprehensive study dedicated to SmPAL gene family characterization. The results provide a basis for elucidating the role of SmPAL genes in the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds.

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