Aloe vera (Asphodeloideae) is a medicinal plant in which useful secondary metabolites are plentiful. Among the representative secondary metabolites of Aloe vera are the anthraquinones including aloe emodin and chrysophanol, which are tricyclic aromatic quinones synthesized via a plant-specific type III polyketide biosynthesis pathway. However, it is not yet clear which cellular responses can induce the pathway, leading to production of tricyclic aromatic quinones. In this study, we examined the effect of endogenous elicitors on the type III polyketide biosynthesis pathway and identified the metabolic changes induced in elicitor-treated Aloe vera adventitious roots. Salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, and ethephon were used to treat Aloe vera adventitious roots cultured on MS liquid media with 0.3 mg/L IBA for 35 days. Aloe emodin and chrysophanol were remarkably increased by the SA treatment, more than 10-11 and 5-13 fold as compared with untreated control, respectively. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry analysis identified a total of 37 SA-induced compounds, including aloe emodin and chrysophanol, and 3 of the compounds were tentatively identified as tricyclic aromatic quinones. Transcript accumulation analysis of polyketide synthase genes and gas chromatography mass spectrometry showed that these secondary metabolic changes resulted from increased expression of octaketide synthase genes and decreases in malonyl-CoA, which is the precursor for the tricyclic aromatic quinone biosynthesis pathway. In addition, anti-inflammatory activity was enhanced in extracts of SA-treated adventitious roots. Our results suggest that SA has an important role in activation of the plant specific-type III polyketide biosynthetic pathway, and therefore that the efficacy of Aloe vera as medicinal agent can be improved through SA treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)