Redirection of metabolite biosynthesis from hydroxybenzoates to volatile terpenoids in green hairy roots of Daucus carota

Planta. 2016 Feb;243(2):305-20. doi: 10.1007/s00425-015-2403-4. Epub 2015 Sep 24.


A metabolic shift in green hairy root cultures of carrot from phenylpropanoid/benzenoid biosynthesis toward volatile isoprenoids was observed when compared with the metabolite profile of normal hairy root cultures. Hairy roots cultures of Daucus carota turned green under continuous illumination, while the content of the major phenolic compound p-hydroxybenzoic acid (p-HBA) was reduced to half as compared to normal hairy roots cultured in darkness. p-Hydroxybenzaldehyde dehydrogenase (HBD) activity was suppressed in the green hairy roots. However, comparative volatile analysis of 14-day-old green hairy roots revealed higher monoterpene and sesquiterpene contents than found in normal hairy roots. Methyl salicylate content was higher in normal hairy roots than in green ones. Application of clomazone, an inhibitor of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXS), reduced the amount of total monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in green hairy roots compared to normal hairy roots. However, methyl salicylate content was enhanced in both green and normal hairy roots treated with clomazone as compared to their respective controls. Because methyl-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) and phenylpropanoid pathways, respectively, contribute to the formation of monoterpenes and phenolic acids biosynthesis, the activities of enzymes regulating those pathways were measured in terms of their in vitro activities, in both green and normal hairy root cultures. These key enzymes were 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), an early regulatory enzyme of the MEP pathway, pyruvate kinase (PK), an enzyme of primary metabolism related to the MEP pathway, shikimate dehydrogenase (SKDH) which is involved in biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids, and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) that catalyzes the first step of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. Activities of DXR and PK were higher in green hairy roots as compared to normal ones, whereas the opposite trend was observed for SKDH and PAL activities. Gene expression analysis of DXR and PAL showed trends similar to those for the respective enzyme activities. Based on these observations, we suggest a possible redirection of metabolites from the primary metabolism toward isoprenoid biosynthesis, limiting the phenolic biosynthetic pathway in green hairy roots grown under continuous light.

Keywords: 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR); Daucus; Green hairy roots; Isoprenoid; Methyl-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP); Phenylpropanoid; Volatile terpenoid; p-Hydroxybenzoic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Daucus carota / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Hydroxybenzoates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybenzoates / metabolism*
  • Isomerases / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Pyruvate Kinase / metabolism
  • Terpenes / metabolism*


  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Plant Proteins
  • Terpenes
  • Chlorophyll
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Shikimate dehydrogenase
  • Pyruvate Kinase
  • Isomerases
  • phenolic acid