Journal Article

Enhanced Triterpene and Phytosterol Biosynthesis in <i>Panax ginseng</i> Overexpressing Squalene Synthase Gene

Mi-Hyun Lee, Jae-Hun Jeong, Jin-Wook Seo, Cha-Gyun Shin, Young-Soon Kim, Jun-Gygo In, Deok-Chun Yang, Jae-Seon Yi and Yong-Eui Choi

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 45, issue 8, pages 976-984
Published in print August 2004 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online August 2004 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Enhanced Triterpene and Phytosterol Biosynthesis in Panax ginseng Overexpressing Squalene Synthase Gene

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Roots of Panax ginseng, one of the most famous medicinal plants, contain various phytosterols and bioactive triterpene saponins (ginsenosides). In P. ginseng, phytosterols and triterpenes share the common biosynthetic intermediate, squalene. Here, we investigate the regulatory role of Panax ginseng squalene synthase (PgSS1) on the biosynthesis of phytosterols and triterpene saponins. PgSS1 transcripts are expressed ubiquitously in the various plant tissues, but higher in shoot apex and root. The transcript levels of PgSS1 increased markedly in the adventitious roots during 12- to 96-h period after metyl jasmonate (MeJA) treatment; MeJA treatment induced the activation of the transcripts of squalene epoxidase (SE), β-amyrin synthase (bAS), but not cycloartenol synthase (CAS). Unlike MeJA treatment, overexpression of PgSS1 in adventitious roots of transgenic P. ginseng was followed by the up-regulation of all the downstream genes tested, such as SE, bAS, and CAS. The enhanced activity of PgSS1 enzyme resulted in remarkable increase of phytosterols as well as ginsenoside contents. These results demonstrate that PgSS1 is a key regulatory enzyme not only for phytosterol but also for triterpene biosynthesis and overexpressing of PgSS1 confers the hyperproduction of triterpene saponins to P. ginseng.

Keywords: Keywords: Ginsenoside — Methyl jasmonate — Panax ginseng — Phytosterol — Squalene synthase (EC2.5.1.21) — Triterpene saponin.; Abbreviations: bAS, β-amyrin synthase; CAS, cycloartenol synthase; FPP, farnesyl diphosphate; MeJA, methyl jasmonate; OSC, oxidosqualene cyclase; PgSS1, Panax ginseng squalene synthase 1; SS, squalene synthase; SE, squalene epoxidase.

Journal Article.  5493 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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