, Volume 249, Issue 2, pp 497–514 | Cite as

Epigenetic control of UV-B-induced flavonoid accumulation in Artemisia annua L.

  • Neha Pandey
  • Niraj Goswami
  • Deepika Tripathi
  • Krishna Kumar Rai
  • Sanjay Kumar Rai
  • Shilpi Singh
  • Shashi Pandey-RaiEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

UV-B-induced flavonoid biosynthesis is epigenetically regulated by site-specific demethylation of AaMYB1, AaMYC, and AaWRKY TF-binding sites inAaPAL1promoter-causing overexpression ofAaPALgene inArtemisia annua.

The present study was undertaken to understand the epigenetic regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis under the influence of ultraviolet-B radiation using Artemisia annua L. as an experimental model. In-vitro propagated and acclimatized plantlets were treated with UV-B radiation (2.8 W m−2; 3 h), which resulted in enhanced accumulation of total flavonoid and phenolics content as well as eleven individual flavonoids measured through HPLC-DAC. Expression of eight genes (phenylanaline ammonia lyase, cinnamate-4-hydroxylase, 4-coumarate: CoA ligase; chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase, cinnamoyl reductase, flavonoid-3′-hydroxylase, and flavones synthase) from upstream and downstream flavonoid biosynthetic pathways was measured through RT-PCR and RT-Q-PCR and all were variably induced under UV-B irradiation. Among them, AaPAL1 transcript and its protein were most significantly upregulated. Global DNA methylation analysis revealed hypomethylation of genomic DNA in A. annua. Further epigenetic characterization of promoter region of AaPAL1 revealed cytosine demethylation at five sites, which in turn caused epigenetic activation of six transcription factor-binding sites including QELEMENT, EBOXBNNAPA/MYCCONSENSUSAT, MYBCORE, MYBCOREATCYCB1, and GCCCORE. MYB transcription factors are positive regulators of flavonoid biosynthesis. Epigenetic activation of transcription-enhancing cis-regulatory elements in AaPAL1 promoter and subsequent overexpression of AaMYB1 and AaMYC and AaWRKY transcription factors under UV-B irradiation may probably be the reason for higher AaPAL1 expression and hence greater biosynthesis of flavonoids in A. annua L. The present study is the first report that provides mechanistic evidence of epigenetic regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis under UV-B radiation in A. annua L.


Flavonoids Artemisia annua L. Phenylalanine ammonia lyase Bisulfite sequencing DNA methylation 



The authors are thankful to DST PURSE program and CAS of Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University for financial assistance. The authors are also thankful to the central instrument facility, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi for providing the instrument facility. Authors also acknowledge Dr. Geeta Rai, Molecular and Human Genetics, BHU for her critical suggestions. NG and DT are thankful to UGC for fellowships.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

425_2018_3022_MOESM1_ESM.docx (910 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 910 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neha Pandey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Niraj Goswami
    • 1
  • Deepika Tripathi
    • 1
  • Krishna Kumar Rai
    • 1
  • Sanjay Kumar Rai
    • 3
  • Shilpi Singh
    • 1
  • Shashi Pandey-Rai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BotanyInstitute of Science, Banaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyCMP Degree College, University of AllahabadAllahabadIndia
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureDr. Rajendra Prasad Agricultural UniversitySamastipurIndia

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