Biosynthesis of the chromogen hermidin from Mercurialis annua L.

Elena Ostrozhenkova, Eva Eylert, Nicholas Schramek, Avi Golan-Goldhirsh, Adelbert Bacher, Wolfgang Eisenreich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Scopus citations


    Cut seedlings of Mercurialis annua L. were supplied with solutions containing 5.4 mM [U-13C6]glucose and 50 mM unlabelled glucose. The pyridinone type chromogen, hermidin, was isolated and analyzed by NMR spectroscopy. 13C NMR spectra revealed the presence of [4,5,6-13C3]hermidin in significant amount. NMR analysis of amino acids obtained by hydrolysis of labelled biomass showed the presence of [U-13C3]alanine, whereas aspartate was found to be virtually unlabelled. Photosynthetic pulse labelling of M. annua plants with 13CO2 followed by a chase period in normal air afforded [4,5,6-13C3]- and [2,3-13C2]hermidin with significant abundance. [U-13C3]Alanine and multiply 13C-labelled aspartate isotopologues were also found in significant abundance. The labelling patterns of hermidin obtained in the present study closely resemble those observed for the pyridine ring of nicotine under similar experimental conditions. This suggests that hermidin, like nicotine, is biosynthesized via the nicotinic acid pathway from dihydroxyacetone phosphate and aspartate. The data show that pulse/chase labelling of plants with 13CO2 generates isotopologue patterns that are similar to those obtained with totally labelled carbohydrate as tracer, but with the added advantage that experiments can be conducted under strictly physiological conditions. This experimental concept appears ripe for application to a wide variety of problems in plant physiology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2816-2824
    Number of pages9
    Issue number22-24
    StatePublished - 1 Nov 2007


    • Alkaloid
    • Biosynthesis
    • Hermidin
    • Mercurialis
    • NMR Spectroscopy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Plant Science
    • Horticulture


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