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Phytochemistry. 1996 Dec;43(6):1141-4.

Elicitation of dihydrobenzophenanthridine oxidase in Sanguinaria canadensis cell cultures.

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E. A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, St Louis University School of Medicine, MO 63104, USA.


Dihydrobenzophenanthridine (DHBP) oxidase catalyses the last step in the biogenesis of the benzo[c]phenanthridine alkaloid sanguinarine. Addition of autoclaved fungal preparations or putative plant defence signalling intermediates (jasmonic acid (JA), methyl jasmonate (MeJ), acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)) to Sanguinaria canadensis cell suspension cultures elicited an increase in the activity of DHBP oxidase. MeJ and ASA were better inducers of oxidase activity than were the fungal elicitor and JA. Enzyme-specific activity could be induced in a dose- and time-dependent manner up to 4- to 14-fold, respectively, when cells were treated with MeJ or with ASA. A change in total enzyme activity in cultured cells was observed only at the highest concentration of MeJ and not at any level of ASA tested. The results suggest that MeJ and ASA may play a role in the S. canadensis defence against pathogens by eliciting the enzymes involved in the synthesis of the phytoalexin benzophenanthridine alkaloids.

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