Molecular Biology and Genetics
Molecular biological research on Catharanthus roseus has been directed primarily towards elucidating the genes and enzymes that are responsible for the production of indole and bisindole alkaloids, such as the cancer-treating compounds vincristine and vinblastine. Some work has also been done on the genetics of flower color and self-pollination. It has been shown that multiple genes are responsible for flower color. Two genetically distinct mechanisms have been identified that permit intrafloral self-pollination by elongating the ovary or style to bring the stigma physically closer to the anthers (Kulkarni et al. 2005); both are due to recessive genes. A few recent references are given below.
Dutta, A., Batra, S. Pandey-Rai, D. Singh, S. Kumar and J. Sen. 2005. Expression of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic pathway genes corresponds to accumulation of related alkaloids in Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don. Planta 220: 376-383.
Dutta, A., D. Singh, S. Kumar and J. Sen. 2007. Transcript profiling of terpenoid indole alkaloid pathway genes and regulators reveals strong expression of repressors in Catharanthus roseus cell cultures. Plant Cell Rep. 26: 907-915.
Irmler, S., G. Schröder, B. St-Pierre, N. P. Crouch, M. Hotze, J. Schmidt, D. Strack, U. Matern and J. Schröder. 2000. Indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus: new enzyme activities and identification of cytochrome P450 CYP72A1 as secologanin synthase. Plant J. 24: 797-804.
Kulkarni, R. N., K. Baskaran and Y. Sreevalli. 2005. Genetics of novel corolla colours in periwinkle. Euphytica 144: 101-107.
Kulkarni, R. N., Y. Sreevalli and K. Baskaran. 2005. Allelic differences at two loci govern different mechanisms of intraflower self-pollination in self-pollinating strains of periwinkle. J. Hered. 96: 71-77.
Menke, F. L. H., S. Parchmann, M. J. Mueller, J. W. Kigne and J. Memelink. 1999. Involvement of the octadecanoid pathway and protein phosphorylation in fungal elicitor-induced expression of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic genes in Catharanthus roseus. Plant Physiol. 119: 1289-1296.
Pauw, B., F. A. O. Hilliou, V. Sandonis Martin, G. Chatel, C. J. F. de Wolf, A. Champion, M. Pré, B. van Duijn, J. W. Kijne, L. van der Fits and J. Memelink. 2004. Zinc finger proteins act as transcriptional repressors of alkaloid biosynthesis genes in Catharanthus roseus. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 52940-52948.
Schulze-Muth, P., S. Irmler, G. Schröder, and J. Schröder. 1996. Novel type of receptor-like protein kinase from a higher plant (Catharanthus roseus). J. Biol. Chem. 271: 26684-26689.
Shukla, A. K., A. K. Shasany, M. M. Gupta and S. P. Khanuja. 2006. Transcriptome analysis in Catharanthus roseus leaves and roots for comparative terpenoid indole alkaloid profiles. J. Exp. Bot. 57: 3921-3932.
Sreevalli, Y., R. N. Kulkarni and K. Baskaran. 2002. Inheritance of flower color in periwinkle: orange-red corolla and white eye. J. Hered. 93: 55-58.
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