Alkaloid production and capacity for methyljasmonate induction by hairy roots of two species in tribe Anthocercideae, family Solanaceae

Suzanne M Ryan, Kathleen D DeBoer, John D Hamill

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5 Citations (Scopus)


In addition to producing medicinally important tropane alkaloids, some species in the mainly Australian Solanaceous tribe Anthocercideae, sister to genus Nicotiana, are known to also contain substantial levels of the pyridine alkaloids nicotine and nornicotine. Here, we demonstrate that axenic hairy root cultures of two tribe Anthocercideae species, Cyphanthera tasmanica Miers and Anthocercis ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia Hook, contain considerable amounts of both nicotine and nornicotine (∼0.5-1% DW), together with lower levels of the tropane alkaloid hyoscyamine (<0.2% DW). Treatment of growing hairy roots of both species with micromolar levels of the wound stress hormone methyl-jasmonate (MeJa) led to significant increases (P<0.05) in pyridine alkaloid concentrations but not of hyoscyamine. Consistent with previous studies involving Nicotiana species, we also observed that transcript levels of key genes required for pyridine alkaloid synthesis increased in hairy roots of both Anthocercideae species following MeJa treatment. We hypothesise that wound-associated induction of pyridine alkaloid synthesis in extant species of tribe Anthocercideae and genus Nicotiana was a feature of common ancestral stock that existed before the separation of both lineages ∼15million years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-801
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • gene expression
  • hairy roots
  • methyl-jasmonate induction
  • pyridine alkaloid
  • Solanaceae
  • tropane alkaloid

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