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A study on biosynthesis of “citral” in lemongrass (C. flexuosus) cv. Suvarna

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Incorporation of [1-13C]-glucose and fosmidomycin was achieved in young and rapidly expanding (aged 15 days) leaves of lemongrass (C. flexuosus) cv. suvarna to elucidate biosynthetic origin of citral (3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal). Analyses of the resultant 13C-labeling patterns of citral by quantitative 13C-NMR spectroscopy revealed significant %13C enrichment at carbons C-3, C-5, C-7 and C-9 in citral. This labeling pattern of the citral is in accordance with their biosynthesis via 2C-methyl-d-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. However, incorporation of [1-13C]-glucose achieved in the presence of fosmidomycin resulted in a 13C-labeling pattern of citral which did not match with labeling pattern characteristic of the MEP pathway. In addition, we studied the activity pattern of the DXR enzyme following fosmidomycin (25, 50, 75 and 100 μM concentrations) treatment of the young (aged 15 days) leaves for 48 h. The results revealed that fosmidomycin (100 μM) caused drastic inhibition (>50 %) of the DXR enzyme activity. The levels of the citral measured in the fosmidomycin treated leaves were also found to be reduced with decrease the activity of DXR enzyme. In conclusion, the results of the present work revealed the presence of the MEP pathway and its role in the biosynthesis of citral in lemongrass. In addition, the critical role of the DXR enzyme in the citral biosynthesis is highlighted. This is the first report on elucidation of the MEP pathway in lemongrass and may help in deeper understanding of the monoterpene biosynthesis and regulation in the genus Cymbopogon of high industrial significance.

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The corresponding author of the manuscript would like to thank Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, Government of India for providing financial support (Grant No. 1235/EMR-II/2010) for our ongoing research program on monoterpene biosynthesis and regulation in the genus Cymbopogon. I duly acknowledge technical support from AIRF, JNU, New Delhi, India. Finally, I would like to thank founder Dr. Ashok K Chauhan and Chancellor Mr. Atul Chauhan Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, India for providing necessary support and facilities.

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Correspondence to Deepak Ganjewala.

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Communicated by J. V. J.-Novo.

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Gupta, A.K., Ganjewala, D. A study on biosynthesis of “citral” in lemongrass (C. flexuosus) cv. Suvarna. Acta Physiol Plant 37, 240 (2015).

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