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Abstract Detail

Biochemistry, metabolism, carbon flux

Morris, Jeremy [1], Facchini, Peter [2].

Biosynthesis of magnoflorine in opium poppy.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) contains the pharmaceutically important benzylisoquinoline (BIA) alkaloids which are produced and stored in cells of the closely associated phloem and laticifer networks. Although several biosynthetic pathways such as those leading to the production of codeine and noscapine have been intensively studied and are well elucidated, many interesting alkaloids and enzymatic activities remain to be investigated. In reviewing the chemical diversity found in opium poppy we noted the presence of N,N-dimethylated alkaloids including the phylogenetically widespread compound magnoflorine . This alkaloid is implicated in plant defense against microorganisms and larger herbivores and is known to have antioxidant, hypoglycemic and sedative effects. Mining of combined ‘omics databases revealed the presence of a latex-abundant N-methyltransferase of uncharacterized function which we hypothesized was involved in the biosynthesis of N,N-dimethylated alkaloids. Following cloning of the cDNA and heterologous expression of the recombinant protein, in vitro enzymatic assays revealed a broad substrate acceptance range and a dual N-methyltransferase and N,N-dimethyltransferase activity resulting in the production of magnoflorine, N,N-dimethylnoscapine and other N,N-dimethylated alkaloids. Subsequent in planta work including Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) supported the conclusion that newly discovered opium poppy N-methyltransferase is a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of magnoflorine in opium poppy.

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1 - University of Calgary, Biological Sciences, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Please select, T2N 1N4, Canada
2 - University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4, Canada

Functional genomics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 43
Location: Hall A/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: 43005
Abstract ID:129
Candidate for Awards:CSPB President's Award for Best Student Presentation

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