Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 1527–1540 | Cite as

SmPPT, a 4-hydroxybenzoate polyprenyl diphosphate transferase gene involved in ubiquinone biosynthesis, confers salt tolerance in Salvia miltiorrhiza

  • Miaomiao Liu
  • Xiang Chen
  • Meizhen Wang
  • Shanfa LuEmail author
Original Article


Key message

SmPPT, which encodes 4-hydroxybenzoate polyprenyl diphosphate transferase involved in ubiquinone biosynthesis, confers salt tolerance to S. miltiorrhiza through enhancing the activities of POD and CAT to scavenge ROS.


Ubiquinone (UQ), also known as coenzyme Q (CoQ), is a key electron transporter in the mitochondrial respiratory system. UQ is composed of a benzene quinone ring and a polyisoprenoid side chain. Attachment of polyisoprenoid side chain to the benzene quinone ring is a rate-limiting step catalyzed by 4-hydroxybenzoate polyprenyl diphosphate transferase (PPT). So far, only a few plant PPT-encoding genes have been functionally analyzed. Through genome-wide analysis and subsequent molecular cloning, a PPT-encoding gene, termed SmPPT, was identified from an economically and academically important medicinal model plant, Salvia miltiorrhiza. SmPPT contained many putative cis-elements associated with abiotic stresses in the promoter region and were responsive to PEG-6000 and methyl jasmonate treatments. The deduced SmPPT protein contains the PT_UbiA conserved domain of polyprenyl diphosphate transferase and an N-terminal mitochondria transit peptide. Transient expression assay of SmPPT-GFP fusion protein showed that SmPPT was mainly localized in the mitochondria. SmPPT could functionally complement coq2 mutation and catalyzed UQ6 production in yeast cells. Overexpression of SmPPT increased UQ production and enhanced salt tolerance in S. miltiorrhiza. Under salinity stress conditions, transgenic plants accumulated less H2O2 and malondialdehyde and exhibited higher peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT) activities compared with wild-type plants. It indicates that SmPPT confers salt tolerance to S. miltiorrhiza at least partially through enhancing the activities of POD and CAT to scavenge ROS.


Salvia miltiorrhiza SmPPT Ubiquinone Transgenic plants Salinity stress ROS 



This work was supported by the CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (CIFMS) (2016-I2M-3-016), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81773836) and the Fund for Postgraduate Innovation in Peking Union Medical College (2015-1007-14). We appreciate Prof. Xian’en Li for kindly providing S. miltiorrhiza plants and Prof. Wei Xiao for kindly providing yeast coq2 mutant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Medicinal Plant DevelopmentChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitectureHenan Institute of Science and TechnologyXinxiangChina

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