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Proteins differentially expressed in elicited cell suspension culture of Podophyllum hexandrum with enhanced podophyllotoxin content

Dipto Bhattacharyya, Ragini Sinha, Srijani Ghanta, Amrita Chakraborty, Saptarshi Hazra and Sharmila Chattopadhyay*

Author Affiliations

Plant Biology Laboratory, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S. C. Mullick Road, Kolkata, 700032, WB, India

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Proteome Science 2012, 10:34  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-10-34

Published: 23 May 2012



Podophyllotoxin (PTOX), the precursor for semi-synthesis of cancer therapeutics like etoposide, teniposide and etophos, is primarily obtained from an endangered medicinal herb, Podophyllum hexandrum Royle. PTOX, a lignan is biosynthetically derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway. The aim of this study is to investigate changes in the P. hexandrum cell proteome potentially related to PTOX accumulation in response to methyl jasmonate (MeJA) elicitation. High-resolution two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) followed by colloidal Coomassie staining and mass spectrometric analysis was used to detect statistically significant changes in cell’s proteome.


The HPLC analysis showed approximately 7–8 fold change in accumulation of PTOX, in the 12day old cell suspension culture (i.e. after 9days of elicitation) elicited with 100 μM MeJA as compared to the control. Using 2-DE a total of 233 spots was detected, out of which 105 spots were identified by MALDI TOF-TOF MS/MS. Data were subjected to functional annotation from a biological point of view through KEGG. The phenylpropanoid and monolignol pathway enzymes were identified, amongst these, chalcone synthase, polyphenol oxidase, caffeoyl CoA 3-O-methyltransferase, S-adenosyl-L-methionine-dependent methyltransferases, caffeic acid-O-methyl transferase etc. are noted as important. The relation of other differentially accumulated proteins with varied effects caused by elicitors on P. hexandrum cells namely stress and defense related protein, transcription and DNA replication and signaling are also discussed.


Elicitor-induced PTOX accumulation in P. hexandrum cell cultures provides a responsive model system to profile modulations in proteins related to phenylpropanoid/monolignol biosynthesis and other defense responses. Present findings form a baseline for future investigation on a non-sequenced medicinal herb P. hexandrum at molecular level.

MeJA elicitation; Podophyllotoxin; Podophyllum hexandrum Royle; Differential proteomics; MALDI TOF-TOF MS/MS