Journal Article

Nitric Oxide Regulates Shikonin Formation in Suspension-Cultured <i>Onosma paniculatum</i> Cells

Shu-Jing Wu, Jin-Liang Qi, Wen-Ju Zhang, Shao-Hua Liu, Feng-Hui Xiao, Ming-Sheng Zhang, Guo-Hua Xu, Wei-Guo Zhao, Ming-Wang Shi, Yan-Jun Pang, Heng-Guan Shen and Yong-Hua Yang

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 50, issue 1, pages 118-128
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Nitric Oxide Regulates Shikonin Formation in Suspension-Cultured Onosma paniculatum Cells

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


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Endogenously occurring nitric oxide (NO) is involved in the regulation of shikonin formation in Onosma paniculatum cells. NO generated after cells were inoculated into shikonin production medium reached the highest level after 2 d of culture, which was 16 times that at the beginning of the experiment, and maintained a high level for 6 d. A nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, Nω-nitro-l-arginine (l-NNA), and a nitrate reductase (NR) inhibitor, sodium azide (SoA), consistent with their inhibition of NO biosynthesis, decreased shikonin formation significantly. This reduction could be alleviated or even abolished by exogenous NO supplied by sodium nitroprusside (SNP), suggesting that the inhibition of NO biosynthesis resulted in decreased shikonin formation. However, when endogenous NO biosynthesis was up-regulated by the elicitor from Rhizoctonia cerealis, shikonin production was enhanced further, showing a dependence on the elicitor-induced NO burst. Real-time PCR analysis showed that NO could significantly up-regulate the expression of PAL, PGT and HMGR, which encode key enzymes involved in shikonin biosynthesis. These results demonstrated that NO plays a critical role in shikonin formation in O. paniculatum cells.

Keywords: Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR); Fungal elicitor; Nitric oxide; Onosma paniculatum; Shikonin

Journal Article.  5363 words.  Illustrated.

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

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