Dhaka 29th Jan.,14. In an article, titled, “Metabolic engineering of Nicotiana benthamiana for the increased production of taxadiene,” published in the January ’14 issue of Plant Cell Reports, Kwang-Kwang-Hyun Baek and seven of his associates report the production of taxadiene by transformation of N. benthamiana with a taxadiene synthase gene. The production was significantly increased by treatment with an elicitor.
It may be mentioned that paclitaxel (Taxol®) was first isolated from the bark of the pacific yew tree (a conifer) as an anticancer agent and has since then been used extensively to treat various types of cancer. To accomplish de novo production of taxadiene, the authors transformed Nicotiana benthamiana with a taxadiene synthase (TS) gene. The introduced TS gene under the transcriptional control of the CaMV 3 promoter was constitutively expressed in N. benthamiana. Homozygous lines of transformed N. benthamiana produced 11–27 μg taxadiene/g of dry weight. The highest taxadiene production line TSS-8 was further enhanced with an elicitor, methyl jasmonate resulting in 1.4- or 1.9-fold accumulation of increased taxadiene. It may be mentioned here that the production of taxadiene in N. benthamiana was possible by the ectopic expression of the TS gene, and the elicitor treatment enhanced its production further.