Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 689–694

Metabolic engineering of artemisinin biosynthesis in Artemisia annua L.

  • Benye Liu
  • Hong Wang
  • Zhigao Du
  • Guofeng Li
  • Hechun Ye
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00299-010-0967-9

Cite this article as:
Liu, B., Wang, H., Du, Z. et al. Plant Cell Rep (2011) 30: 689. doi:10.1007/s00299-010-0967-9

Abstract

Artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the Chinese medicinal plant Artemisia annua L., is an effective antimalarial agent, especially for multi-drug resistant and cerebral malaria. To date, A. annua is still the only commercial source of artemisinin. The low concentration of artemisinin in A. annua, ranging from 0.01 to 0.8% of the plant dry weight, makes artemisinin relatively expensive and difficult to meet the demand of over 100 million courses of artemisinin-based combinational therapies per year. Since the chemical synthesis of artemisinin is not commercially feasible at present, another promising approach to reduce the price of artemisinin-based antimalarial drugs is metabolic engineering of the plant to obtain a higher content of artemisinin in transgenic plants. In the past decade, we have established an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation system of A. annua, and have successfully transferred a number of genes related to artemisinin biosynthesis into the plant. The various aspects of these efforts are discussed in this review.

Keywords

Artemisia annua Artemisinin Metabolic engineering Metabolic profiling 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benye Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hong Wang
    • 1
  • Zhigao Du
    • 1
  • Guofeng Li
    • 1
  • Hechun Ye
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Pharmaceutical BiologyTechnical University BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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