Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 455–466 | Cite as

Nitric oxide elicitation for secondary metabolite production in cultured plant cells

  • Ben Zhang
  • Li Ping Zheng
  • Jian Wen Wang


Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signal molecule in stress responses. Accumulation of secondary metabolites often occurs in plants subjected to stresses including various elicitors or signal molecules. NO has been reported to play important roles in elicitor-induced secondary metabolite production in tissue and cell cultures of medicinal plants. Better understanding of NO role in the biosynthesis of such metabolites is very important for optimizing the commercial production of those pharmaceutically significant secondary metabolites. This paper summarizes progress made on several aspects of NO signal leading to the production of plant secondary metabolites, including various abiotic and biotic elicitors that induce NO production, elicitor-triggered NO generation cascades, the impact of NO on growth development and programmed cell death in medicinal plants, and NO-mediated regulation of the biosynthetic pathways of such metabolites. Cross-talks among NO signaling and reactive oxygen species, salicylic acid, and jasmonic acid are discussed. Some perspectives on the application of NO donors for induction of the secondary metabolite accumulation in plant cultures are also presented.


Nitric oxide Elicitation Secondary metabolites Biosynthesis Plant tissue cultures 



This work was supported by grants from Soochow Scholar Program (No. 14317363), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30772731), the fifth Jiangsu Leading Discipline Program (BU 132802), and the project-sponsored by PAPD and SRF for ROCS (K513201011).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Pharmaceutical SciencesSoochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Architecture and Urban EnvironmentSoochow UniversitySuzhouChina

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