Expression analysis of biosynthetic pathway genes vis-à-vis podophyllotoxin content in Podophyllum hexandrum Royle

Pawan Kumar, Tarun Pal, Neha Sharma, Varun Kumar, Hemant Sood, Rajinder S. Chauhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Podophyllum hexandrum Royle is known for its vast medicinal properties, particularly anticancer. It contains higher amount of podophyllotoxin (4.3 %), compared to Podophyllum peltatum (0.025 %) and other plant species; as a result, it has been used worldwide in the preparation of various drugs including anticancer, antimalarial, antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal, and so on. Currently, Etoposide (VP-16-213), Vumon® (Teniposide; VM-26), Etopophos®, Pod-Ben- 25, Condofil, Verrusol, and Warticon are available in the market. Due to highly complex synthesis and low cell culture yields of podophyllotoxin (0.3 %), the supply of raw material cannot be met due to increasing industrial demands. The knowledge on podophyllotoxin biosynthetic pathway vis-à-vis expression status of genes is fragmentary. Quantitative expression analysis of 21 pathway genes has revealed 9 genes, namely SD, PD, PCH, CM, CMT, CAD, CCR, C4H, and ADH, that showed increase in transcript abundance up to 1.4 to 23.05 folds, respectively, vis-à-vis podophyllotoxin content in roots (1.37 %) and rhizomes (3.05 %) of P. hexandrum. In silico analysis of putative cis-regulatory elements in promoter regions of overexpressed genes showed the presence of common Skn-1 motif and MBS elements in CMT, CAD, CCR, C4H, and ADH genes, thereby, suggesting their common regulation. The outcome of the study has resulted in the identification of suitable candidate genes which might be contributing to podophyllotoxin biosynthesis that can act as potential targets for any genetic intervention strategies aimed at its enhanced production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253-1262
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer
  • Differential expression
  • HPLC
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • Podophyllotoxin biosynthesis
  • Podophyllum hexandrum
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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