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Production of Plant Secondary Metabolites: Examples, Tips and Suggestions for Biotechnologists

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Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, 5 avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, L-4362 Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg
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Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
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Trees and timber institute-National research council of Italy (CNR-IVALSA), via Aurelia 49, 58022 Follonica (GR), Italy
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Unidad de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular de Plantas, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Calle 43 # 130 X 32 y 34, Col. Chuburná de Hidalgo, Mérida, Yucatán 97205, Mexico
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Arterra Biosciences srl/Vitalab srl, via B. Brin 69, 80142 Naples, Italy
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Department of Botany & Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
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Life Sciences Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), 31261 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2018, 9(6), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9060309
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Metabolic Engineering of High Value Bioactive Products)
Plants are sessile organisms and, in order to defend themselves against exogenous (a)biotic constraints, they synthesize an array of secondary metabolites which have important physiological and ecological effects. Plant secondary metabolites can be classified into four major classes: terpenoids, phenolic compounds, alkaloids and sulphur-containing compounds. These phytochemicals can be antimicrobial, act as attractants/repellents, or as deterrents against herbivores. The synthesis of such a rich variety of phytochemicals is also observed in undifferentiated plant cells under laboratory conditions and can be further induced with elicitors or by feeding precursors. In this review, we discuss the recent literature on the production of representatives of three plant secondary metabolite classes: artemisinin (a sesquiterpene), lignans (phenolic compounds) and caffeine (an alkaloid). Their respective production in well-known plants, i.e., Artemisia, Coffea arabica L., as well as neglected species, like the fibre-producing plant Urtica dioica L., will be surveyed. The production of artemisinin and caffeine in heterologous hosts will also be discussed. Additionally, metabolic engineering strategies to increase the bioactivity and stability of plant secondary metabolites will be surveyed, by focusing on glycosyltransferases (GTs). We end our review by proposing strategies to enhance the production of plant secondary metabolites in cell cultures by inducing cell wall modifications with chemicals/drugs, or with altered concentrations of the micronutrient boron and the quasi-essential element silicon. View Full-Text
Keywords: secondary metabolites; Artemisia; artemisinin; Urtica dioica L.; lignans; Coffea arabica L.; caffeine; bioactivity; heterologous hosts; uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases; cell wall secondary metabolites; Artemisia; artemisinin; Urtica dioica L.; lignans; Coffea arabica L.; caffeine; bioactivity; heterologous hosts; uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases; cell wall
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MDPI and ACS Style

Guerriero, G.; Berni, R.; Muñoz-Sanchez, J.A.; Apone, F.; Abdel-Salam, E.M.; Qahtan, A.A.; Alatar, A.A.; Cantini, C.; Cai, G.; Hausman, J.-F.; Siddiqui, K.S.; Hernández-Sotomayor, S.M.T.; Faisal, M. Production of Plant Secondary Metabolites: Examples, Tips and Suggestions for Biotechnologists. Genes 2018, 9, 309. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9060309

AMA Style

Guerriero G, Berni R, Muñoz-Sanchez JA, Apone F, Abdel-Salam EM, Qahtan AA, Alatar AA, Cantini C, Cai G, Hausman J-F, Siddiqui KS, Hernández-Sotomayor SMT, Faisal M. Production of Plant Secondary Metabolites: Examples, Tips and Suggestions for Biotechnologists. Genes. 2018; 9(6):309. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9060309

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guerriero, Gea, Roberto Berni, J. Armando Muñoz-Sanchez, Fabio Apone, Eslam M. Abdel-Salam, Ahmad A. Qahtan, Abdulrahman A. Alatar, Claudio Cantini, Giampiero Cai, Jean-Francois Hausman, Khawar Sohail Siddiqui, S. M. Teresa Hernández-Sotomayor, and Mohammad Faisal. 2018. "Production of Plant Secondary Metabolites: Examples, Tips and Suggestions for Biotechnologists" Genes 9, no. 6: 309. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9060309

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