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Molecules 2018, 23(11), 2899; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23112899

Benzylisoquinoline Alkaloids Biosynthesis in Sacred Lotus

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
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Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 1 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Alkaloid Research)
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Abstract

Sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) is an ancient aquatic plant used throughout Asia for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs), mostly within the aporphine and bisbenzylisoquinoline structural categories, are among the main bioactive constituents in the plant. The alkaloids of sacred lotus exhibit promising anti-cancer, anti-arrhythmic, anti-HIV, and anti-malarial properties. Despite their pharmacological significance, BIA metabolism in this non-model plant has not been extensively investigated. In this review, we examine the diversity of BIAs in sacred lotus, with an emphasis on the distinctive stereochemistry of alkaloids found in this species. Additionally, we discuss our current understanding of the biosynthetic genes and enzymes involved in the formation of 1-benzylisoquinoline, aporphine, and bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids in the plant. We conclude that a comprehensive functional characterization of alkaloid biosynthetic enzymes using both in vitro and in vivo methods is required to advance our limited knowledge of BIA metabolism in the sacred lotus. View Full-Text
Keywords: benzylisoquinoline alkaloids; cytochrome P450 monooxygenase; medicinal properties; methyltransferase; Nelumbo nucifera; norcoclaurine synthase; sacred lotus; stereochemistry benzylisoquinoline alkaloids; cytochrome P450 monooxygenase; medicinal properties; methyltransferase; Nelumbo nucifera; norcoclaurine synthase; sacred lotus; stereochemistry
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Menéndez-Perdomo, I.M.; Facchini, P.J. Benzylisoquinoline Alkaloids Biosynthesis in Sacred Lotus. Molecules 2018, 23, 2899.

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