The involvement of genes in flavones biosynthesis was investigated in different organs and suspension cells obtained from Scutellaria baicalensis. Three full-length cDNAs encoding phenylalanine ammonia-lyase isoforms (SbPAL1, SbPAL2, and SbAPL3) and one gene encoding cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (SbC4H) from S. baicalensis were isolated using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE)-PCR. These cDNAs were used together with previously-isolated clones for 4-coumaroyl CoA ligase (4CL) and chalcone synthase (CHS) to show the expression level in different organs of S. baicalensis. These genes were upregulated in suspension cells of S. baicalensis with biotic/abiotic stress factors. The baicalin and baicalein contents in roots were 22 and 107 times higher than those in flowers, respectively. The treatment of suspension cells with methyl jasmonate (MeJa) enhanced the major flavones in S. baicalensis. Cumulatively, the results of this study should advance ability to biosynthesize important and useful medicinal compounds from a variety of plant species.
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