Inhibition of caffeine biosynthesis in tea (Camellia sinensis) and coffee (Coffea arabica) plants by ribavirin

FEBS Lett. 2003 Nov 20;554(3):473-7. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(03)01213-4.

Abstract

The effects of ribavirin, an inhibitor of inosine-5'-monophosphate (IMP) dehydrogenase, on [8-(14)C]inosine metabolism in tea leaves, coffee leaves and coffee fruits were investigated. Incorporation of radioactivity from [8-(14)C]inosine into purine alkaloids, such as theobromine and caffeine, guanine residues of RNA, and CO(2) was reduced by ribavirin, while incorporation into nucleotides, including IMP and adenine residues of RNA, was increased. The results indicate that inhibition of IMP dehydrogenase by ribavirin inhibits both caffeine and guanine nucleotide biosynthesis in caffeine-forming plants. The use of IMP dehydrogenase-deficient plants as a potential source of good quality caffeine-deficient tea and coffee plants is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites / pharmacology*
  • Caffeine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Caffeine / biosynthesis*
  • Camellia sinensis / drug effects*
  • Camellia sinensis / metabolism*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Coffea / drug effects*
  • Coffea / metabolism*
  • Fruit / drug effects
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • IMP Dehydrogenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Inosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Inosine / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Purines / metabolism
  • Ribavirin / chemistry
  • Ribavirin / pharmacology*

Substances

  • Antimetabolites
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Purines
  • Caffeine
  • Ribavirin
  • Inosine
  • IMP Dehydrogenase