, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 53-60
Date: 27 Nov 2010

Enhancement of artemisinin content by constitutive expression of the HMG-CoA reductase gene in high-yielding strain of Artemisia annua L.

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Artemisinin is effective against both chloroquine-resistant and -sensitive strains of Plasmodium species. However, the low yield of artemisinin from cultivated and wild plants is a serious limitation to the commercialization of this drug. Optimization of artemisinin yield either in vivo or in vitro is therefore highly desirable. To this end, we have overexpressed the 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) gene (hmgr) from Catharanthus roseus L. in Artemisia annua L. and analyzed its influence on artemisinin content. PCR and Southern blot analyses revealed that the transgenic plants showed stable integration of the foreign hmgr gene. The reverse transcriptase-PCR results suggested that the hmgr was expressed at the transcriptional level in transgenic lines of Artemisia annua L., while the high-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that artemisinin content was significantly increased in a number of the transgenic lines. Artemisinin content in one of the A. annua transgenic lines was 38.9% higher than that in non-transgenic plants, and HMGR enzyme activity in transgenic A. annua L. was also higher than that in the non-transgenic lines.