A balanced nutrient supply is a critical factor affecting accumulation of terpenoids in plants, yet data related to the interactive effects of two essential nutrients for the biosynthesis of sesquiterpenes are scarce. Here, the interactional effects between magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn) on plant growth, oxidative status, parthenolide accumulation and expression of key genes involved in parthenolide biosynthesis including 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), hydroxy-2-methyl-2-(E)-butenyl-4-diphosphate reductase (HDR), 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutarylcoenzyme A reductase (HMGR), germacrene A synthase (GAS), germacrene A oxidase (GAO), costunolide synthase (COS) and parthenolide synthase (PTS) in the leaves of feverfew plants grown at different Mn and Mn levels were assessed. Plant growth and leaf pigment concentrations were associated with the amount of applied Mg but could be modified by the Mn level. Deprivation and the addition of both Mg and Mn induce oxidative stress. Mg supply also alleviated the adverse effects of Mn excess on plant growth and oxidative status. In addition, parthenolide biosynthesis decreased under deprivation of Mg or Mn, but the addition of Mn up to 50μM under 2mM Mg supply considerably increased its accumulation. The parthenolide accumulation trend might reflect the up-regulation of terpenoid-related genes and enzyme activities as well as the oxidative status of feverfew leaves. Our data suggest a profound effect of the combined supply of Mg and Mn on parthenolide biosynthesis through the activation of terpene synthases, which concomitantly modulate by oxidative status.
Keywords: Antioxidant enzymes; Feverfew; Magnesium; Manganese; Parthenolide.
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