Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1479–1492 | Cite as

Methyl jasmonate represses growth and affects cell cycle progression in cultured Taxus cells

  • Rohan A. Patil
  • Sangram K. Lenka
  • Jennifer Normanly
  • Elsbeth L. Walker
  • Susan C. Roberts
Original Paper


Key message

Methyl jasmonate elicitation of Taxus cultures enhances paclitaxel accumulation, but represses growth by inhibition of cell cycle progression. Growth repression is evident both at the culture level and transcriptional level.


Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) elicitation is an effective strategy to induce and enhance synthesis of the anticancer agent paclitaxel (Taxol®) in Taxus cell suspension cultures; however, concurrent decreases in growth are often observed, which is problematic for large-scale bioprocessing. Here, increased accumulation of paclitaxel in Taxus cuspidata suspension cultures with MeJA elicitation was accompanied by a concomitant decrease in cell growth, evident within the first 3 days post-elicitation. Both MeJA-elicited and mock-elicited cultures exhibited similar viability with no apoptosis up to day 16 and day 24 of the cell culture period, respectively, suggesting that growth repression is not attributable to cell death. Flow cytometric analyses demonstrated that MeJA perturbed cell cycle progression of asynchronously dividing Taxus cells. MeJA slowed down cell cycle progression, impaired the G1/S transition as observed by an increase in G0/G1 phase cells, and decreased the number of actively dividing cells. Through a combination of deep sequencing and gene expression analyses, the expression status of Taxus cell cycle-associated genes correlated with observations at the culture level. Results from this study provide valuable insight into the mechanisms governing MeJA perception and subsequent events leading to repression of Taxus cell growth.


Cell cycle Next-generation sequencing Methyl jasmonate Paclitaxel Plant cell culture Taxus 



This work was funded by National Institute of Health (Grant No. GM070852). We acknowledge the National Science Foundation-sponsored Institute for Cellular Engineering IGERT Program (DGE-0654128) for facilities and financial support. We thank Dr. Donna Gibson of the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, for the Taxus cell cultures. We also thank the UMass Amherst Flow Cytometry Facility and Prof. Shelly Peyton for the use of her Zeiss Axiovert 200 microscope.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rohan A. Patil
    • 1
  • Sangram K. Lenka
    • 2
  • Jennifer Normanly
    • 3
  • Elsbeth L. Walker
    • 2
  • Susan C. Roberts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute for Cellular EngineeringUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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