Biosynthetic Pathways and Molecular Regulatory Mechanisms of Active Ingredients in Medicinal Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 936

Special Issue Editors

College of Horticulture, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China
Interests: molecular biology in medicinal plants; biosynthetic pathway; genome, transcriptome and proteome; synthetic biology
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Guest Editor
College of Veterinary Medicine, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China
Interests: natural products research; LC-MS; structural identification; biological activity; biosynthetic pathway

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Medicinal plants are an important resource for humans. However, compared with model systems and crops, the number of studies on medicinal plants has fallen far behind the amount of research on other topics. Recently, with the increase in demand for medicinal plants and the development and application of high-throughput technologies, the research field of medicinal plants has rapidly expanded. Significant progress has been made in genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics of medicinal plants. Numerous studies have contributed to the biosynthetic pathway of active Ingredients, genes encoding key enzymes of the pathway, and regulatory mechanisms of active ingredients. This enables the production of secondary metabolites through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Moreover, novel technologies and strategies are being developed and applied to this research field. This open-access Special Issue of Plants is devoted to publishing original research and review articles on medicinal plant studies, highlighting recent advances in the biosynthesis and regulatory mechanisms of active ingredients, particularly significant discoveries from intensive studies, and the development and application of novel technologies. This Special Issue aims to provide an accessible collection of research that shares the latest innovative results from the research field of medicinal plants to aid further studies on secondary metabolism, medicinal plant improvement, and the production of functionally important secondary metabolites.

Topics of this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, protomics and metabolomics of medicinal plants;
  • Biosynthetic pathway of secondary metabolites;
  • Key enzyme genes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites;
  • Transcription factors and regulatory networks in medicinal plants;
  • Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology of active ingredients;
  • Application of high-throughput sequencing technologies;
  • Databases associated with the biosynthesis and regulation of active ingredients;
  • Novel technologies and strategies for secondary metabolism studies.

Dr. Qi Tang
Dr. Zhixing Qing
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • medicinal plants
  • biosynthetic pathway
  • molecular regulatory mechanisms
  • gene annotation
  • transcription factor
  • high-throughput sequencing
  • metabolic engineering
  • secondary metabolites
  • gene editing
  • multi-omics
  • genome, transcriptome and proteome metabolomics
  • synthetic biology
  • metabolic analysis
  • metabolic outline

Published Papers (1 paper)

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17 pages, 6748 KiB  
Genome-Wide Mining of CULLIN E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Genes from Uncaria rhynchophylla
by Yingying Shao, Detian Mu, Yu Zhou, Xinghui Liu, Xueshuang Huang, Iain W. Wilson, Yuxin Qi, Ying Lu, Lina Zhu, Yao Zhang, Deyou Qiu and Qi Tang
Plants 2024, 13(4), 532; - 15 Feb 2024
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CULLIN (CUL) protein is a subtype of E3 ubiquitin ligase that is involved in a variety of biological processes and responses to stress in plants. In Uncaria rhynchophylla, the CUL gene family has not been identified and its role in plant development, [...] Read more.
CULLIN (CUL) protein is a subtype of E3 ubiquitin ligase that is involved in a variety of biological processes and responses to stress in plants. In Uncaria rhynchophylla, the CUL gene family has not been identified and its role in plant development, stress response and secondary metabolite synthesis has not been studied. In this study, 12 UrCUL gene members all contained the typical N-terminal domain and C-terminal domain identified from the U. rhynchophylla genome and were classified into four subfamilies based on the phylogenetic relationship with CULs in Arabidopsis thaliana. They were unevenly distributed on eight chromosomes but had a similar structural composition in the same subfamily, indicating that they were relatively conserved and potentially had similar gene functions. An interspecific and intraspecific collinearity analysis showed that fragment duplication played an important role in the evolution of the CUL gene family. The analysis of the cis-acting elements suggests that the UrCULs may play an important role in various biological processes, including the abscisic acid (ABA) response. To investigate this hypothesis, we treated the roots of U. rhynchophylla tissue-cultured seedlings with ABA. The expression pattern analysis showed that all the UrCUL genes were widely expressed in roots with various expression patterns. The co-expression association analysis of the UrCULs and key enzyme genes in the terpenoid indole alkaloid (TIA) synthesis pathway revealed the complex expression patterns of 12 UrCUL genes and some key TIA enzyme genes, especially UrCUL1, UrCUL1-likeA, UrCUL2-likeA and UrCUL2-likeB, which might be involved in the biosynthesis of TIAs. The results showed that the UrCULs were involved in the response to ABA hormones, providing important information for elucidating the function of UrCULs in U. rhynchophylla. The mining of UrCULs in the whole genome of U. rhynchophylla provided new information for understanding the CUL gene and its function in plant secondary metabolites, growth and development. Full article
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