Hairy Roots pp 71-93 | Cite as

Biotechnological Interventions of Hairy Roots of Tropane Alkaloid-Bearing Plants

  • Guoyin KaiEmail author
  • Weiwei Zhao
  • Min Shi
  • Yao Wang


As one large group of plant secondary metabolites, tropane alkaloids (TAs) can be produced by a few genera of the family Solanaceae including Anisodus, Atropa, Datura, Hyoscyamus, and Scopolia. Due to their anti-cholinergic activity, tropane alkaloids including hyoscyamine and scopolamine are widely used as antispasmodics and mydriatics. Because of low contents in tropane alkaloid-bearing plants, it is urgent to elevate the production of tropane alkaloids by means of biotechnology approaches to meet the increasing clinical demand. Hairy roots, with the characters of fast-growing, auxin-independent, and genetically stable, were considered as a promising system to produce active plant-origin compounds including tropane alkaloids. Recently, hairy root systems of some tropane alkaloid-producing plants such as Anisodus acutangulus have been successfully established. Meanwhile, several key enzymes involved in the TAs biosynthetic pathway have been cloned and introduced into related genetic engineered hairy root systems, which lay the foundation for production of tropane alkaloids in hairy roots by large-scale bioreactors in the future. Here, the recent advances of pharmacological activity, hairy root, biosynthesis pathway, and genetic engineering were summarized, and problems along with prospects were also discussed.


Solanaceae Tropane alkaloids Hairy roots Biosynthesis pathway Metabolic engineering 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Fund (31270007, 81522049, 31571735), Zhejiang Provincial Key University Project on the Construction of First-class Subjects, Shanghai Science and Technology Committee Project (17JC1404300, 15430502700), New Century Talent Project (NECT-13-0902), the “Dawn” Program of Shanghai Education Commission (16SG38), and Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Plant Germplasm Resources (17DZ2252700).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyZhejiang Chinese Medical UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Biotechnology, College of Life and Environment SciencesShanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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