Cloning and characterization of the I-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase gene for diterpenoid tanshinone blosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza (Chinese sage) hairy roots

Shu Jing Wu, Ming Shi, Jianyong Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (Chinese sage; Lamiaceae) is a valuable Chinese herbal plant, and its rhizome, known as Danshen in Chinese because of its characteristic red pigment, is the part of the plant used in herbal medicine. The red pigment in S. miltiorrhiza roots is mainly composed of numerous diterpenoid tanshinones, as the major bioactive ingredients of the herb. In plants, diterpenes are synthesized through the MEP (2-Cmethyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate) pathway in the plastids, and DXR [DXP (1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate) reductoisomerase] is an enzyme catalysing the first step of the MEP pathway. In the present study, a full-length cDNA encoding DXR (GenBank® Nucleotide Sequence Database accession no. DQ991431) was cloned from the hairy roots of S. miltiorrhiza in culture. The enzyme activity of DXR protein was verified by complementation of an Escherichia coli mutant deficient in dxr. The transcription level of the dxr gene in the hairy roots was up-regulated after exposure to hyperosmotic stress and a yeast elicitor in parallel with increased tanshinone accumulation in the hairy roots. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of elicitor-induced dxr transcription and its correlation with the accumulation of diterpenoid tanshinones in S. miltiorrhiza roots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and Applied Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway
  • complementation
  • I-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza (Chinese sage)
  • Transcription
  • Yeast elicitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

Cite this