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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential regulation and distribution of acridone synthase in Ruta graveolens.

Cell suspension cultures of Ruta graveolens L. accumulate polyketide metabolites such as acridone alkaloids and flavonoid pigments. Whereas flavonoid synthesis is induced by light, the production of alkaloids can be enhanced in dark-cultured cells by treatment with fungal elicitors. Acridone synthase (ACS) catalyzes the committed condensing reaction of acridone biosynthesis yielding 1,3-dihydroxy-N-methylacridone from N-methylanthraniloyl- and malonyl-CoAs. The reaction proceeds in a manner analogous to that of chalcone synthase (CHS) which catalyzes the first committed step in flavonoid biosynthesis and cDNA and protein sequences of Ruta ACS possess a high degree of sequence homology to heterologous CHSs. ACS transcript abundance and specific activity were monitored in cultured R. graveolens cells irradiated either continuously with white light or treated with fungal elicitor over a period of 24 h and found to increase transiently upon elicitor treatment and to decrease upon light irradiation. Immunodetection with a rabbit polyclonal ACS antiserum revealed that the amounts of ACS polypeptide decreased slightly in light-irradiated cells but increased in elicitor-treated Ruta cells. Fluorescence microscopy and tissue print hybridizations were employed to aid in localizing the sites of storage and biosynthesis of acridone alkaloids in Ruta plants. Yellow fluorescing alkaloids were detected particularly in root tissue adjacent to the rhizodermis, but also in the endodermis and vascular tissue of the hypocotyl. ACS transcript abundance in situ followed the same spatial pattern, indicating that the synthesis of acridones likely proceeds at all sites of deposition rather than exclusively in the root. Expression in planta and the induction response of ACS suggest that the alkaloids serve as phytoanticipins or phytoalexins in the defense of Ruta particularly to soil-borne pathogens or as feeding deterrents.[1]


  1. Differential regulation and distribution of acridone synthase in Ruta graveolens. Junghanns, K.T., Kneusel, R.E., Gröger, D., Matern, U. Phytochemistry (1998) [Pubmed]
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