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Planta. 2017 Jun;245(6):1105-1119. doi: 10.1007/s00425-017-2668-x. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Heterologous production of a ginsenoside saponin (compound K) and its precursors in transgenic tobacco impairs the vegetative and reproductive growth.

Author information

1
Department of Forest Resources, College of Forest and Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, 200-701, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Forest Resources, College of Forest and Environmental Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, 200-701, Republic of Korea. yechoi@kangwon.ac.kr.

Abstract

Production of compound K (a ginsenoside saponin) and its precursors in transgenic tobacco resulted in stunted growth and seed set failure, which may be caused by strong autotoxicity of heterologously produced phytochemicals against the tobacco itself. Panax ginseng roots contain various saponins (ginsenosides), which are major bioactive compounds. A monoglucosylated saponin, compound K (20-O-(β-D-glucopyranosyl)-20(S)-protopanaxadiol), has high medicinal and cosmetic values but is present in undetectable amounts in naturally grown ginseng roots. The production of compound K (CK) requires complicated deglycosylation of ginsenosides using physicochemical and/or enzymatic degradation. In this work, we report the production of CK in transgenic tobacco by co-overexpressing three genes (PgDDS, CYP716A47 and UGT71A28) isolated from P. ginseng. Introduction and expression of the transgenes in tobacco lines were confirmed by genomic PCR and RT-PCR. All the lines of transgenic tobacco produced CK including its precursors, protopanaxadiol and dammarenediol-II (DD). The concentrations of CK in the leaves ranged from 1.55 to 2.64 µg/g dry weight, depending on the transgenic line. Interestingly, production of CK in tobacco brought stunted plant growth and gave rise to seed set failure. This seed set failure was caused by both long-styled flowers and abnormal pollen development in transgenic tobacco. Both CK and DD treatments highly suppressed in vitro germination and tube growth in wild-type pollens. Based on these results, metabolic engineering for CK production in transgenic tobacco was successfully achieved, but the production of CK and its precursors in tobacco severely affects vegetative and reproductive growth due to the cytotoxicity of phytochemicals that are heterologously produced in transgenic tobacco.

KEYWORDS:

Compound K; Ginsenoside; Metabolic engineering; Saponin; Transgenic tobacco

PMID:
28243734
DOI:
10.1007/s00425-017-2668-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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