Planta Med 2011; 77(15): 1759-1765
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1271038
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Original Papers
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Artemisinin Biosynthesis Enhancement in Transgenic Artemisia annua Plants by Downregulation of the β-Caryophyllene Synthase Gene

Jian-Lin Chen1 , 2 , Hua-Ming Fang2 , Yun-Peng Ji1 , 2 , Gao-Bin Pu3 , Yan-Wu Guo2 , Li-Li Huang1 , 2 , Zhi-Gao Du2 , Ben-Ye Liu2 , He-Chun Ye2 , Guo-Feng Li2 , Hong Wang1 , 2
  • 1Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3Shandong Yingcai University, Jinan, China
Further Information

Publication History

received August 9, 2010 revised March 11, 2011

accepted March 30, 2011

Publication Date:
20 April 2011 (eFirst)


Artemisinin is an effective antimalarial drug isolated from the medicinal plant Artemisia annua L. Due to its increasing market demand and the low yield in A. annua, there is a great interest in increasing its production. In this paper, in an attempt to increase artemisinin content of A. annua by suppressing the expression of β-caryophyllene synthase, a sesquiterpene synthase competing as a precursor of artemisinin, the antisense fragment (750 bp) of β-caryophyllene synthase cDNA was inserted into the plant expression vector pBI121 and introduced into A. annua by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. PCR and Southern hybridization confirmed the stable integration of multiple copies of the transgene in 5 different transgenic lines of A. annua. Reverse transcription PCR showed that the expression of endogenous CPS in the transgenic lines was significantly lower than that in the wild-type control A. annua plants, and β-caryophyllene content decreased sharply in the transgenic lines in comparison to the control. The artemisinin content of one of the transgenic lines showed an increase of 54.9 % compared with the wild-type control. The present study demonstrated that the inhibition pathway in the precursor competition for artemisinin biosynthesis by anti-sense technology is an effective means of increasing the artemisinin content of A. annua plants.


Dr. Hong Wang

College of Life Sciences
Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

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