Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 603–615 | Cite as

Increased accumulation of the cardio-cerebrovascular disease treatment drug tanshinone in Salvia miltiorrhiza hairy roots by the enzymes 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase and 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase

  • Min Shi
  • Xiuqin Luo
  • Guanhua Ju
  • Xiaohong Yu
  • Xiaolong Hao
  • Qiang Huang
  • Jianbo Xiao
  • Lijie Cui
  • Guoyin KaiEmail author
Original Paper


Tanshinone is widely used for treatment of cardio-cerebrovascular diseases with increasing demand. Herein, key enzyme genes SmHMGR (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase) and SmDXR (1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase) involved in the tanshinone biosynthetic pathway were introduced into Salvia miltiorrhiza (Sm) hairy roots to enhance tanshinone production. Over-expression of SmHMGR or SmDXR in hairy root lines can significantly enhance the yield of tanshinone. Transgenic hairy root lines co-expressing HMGR and DXR (HD lines) produced evidently higher levels of total tanshinone (TT) compared with the control and single gene transformed lines. The highest tanshinone production was observed in HD42 with the concentration of 3.25 mg g−1 DW. Furthermore, the transgenic hairy roots showed higher antioxidant activity than control. In addition, transgenic hairy root harboring HMGR and DXR (HD42) exhibited higher tanshinone content after elicitation by yeast extract and/or Ag+ than before. Tanshinone can be significantly enhanced to 5.858, 6.716, and 4.426 mg g−1 DW by YE, Ag+, and YE-Ag+ treatment compared with non-induced HD42, respectively. The content of cryptotanshinone and dihydrotanshinone was effectively elevated upon elicitor treatments, whereas there was no obvious promotion effect for the other two compounds tanshinone I and tanshinone IIA. Our results provide a useful strategy to improve tanshinone content as well as other natural active products by combination of genetic engineering with elicitors.


Salvia miltiorrhiza Hairy roots Tanshinone Co-regulation Elicitor 



Salvia miltiorrhiza




Methylerythritol phosphate


3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase


1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase






Tanshinone I


Tanshinone IIA


Total tanshinone


High-performance liquid chromatography


Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Fund (31270007, 31201261, and 30900110), the Fok Ying-Tong Education Foundation for Young Teachers in the Higher Education Institutions of China (131041), the New Century Talent Project (NECT-13-0902), the Shanghai Talent Development Fund and the Open Funding Project of the State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, Shanghai Science and Technology Committee Project (10JC1412000 and 09QH1401900), the Shanghai Education Committee Fund (13ZZ104, 09ZZ138, and J50401), and the Key Science and Technology Project of Yangtze River Delta (10140702018). Miss Pin Liu’s (Shanghai Jiaotong University, China) kind assistance with HPLC analysis is also acknowledged.

Supplementary material

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Fig. S1 (DOCX 474 kb)
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Fig. S2 (DOCX 50 kb)
10142_2014_385_MOESM3_ESM.docx (98 kb)
Fig. S3 (DOCX 97 kb)
10142_2014_385_MOESM4_ESM.docx (50 kb)
Fig. S4 (DOCX 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Shi
    • 1
  • Xiuqin Luo
    • 1
  • Guanhua Ju
    • 1
  • Xiaohong Yu
    • 3
  • Xiaolong Hao
    • 1
  • Qiang Huang
    • 1
  • Jianbo Xiao
    • 1
  • Lijie Cui
    • 1
  • Guoyin Kai
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Development Center of Plant Germplasm Resources, College of Life and Environment SciencesShanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor EngineeringEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Cell BiologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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