Differential regulation of fluorescent alkaloid metabolism between idioblast and lacticifer cells during leaf development in Catharanthus roseus seedlings

J Plant Res. 2022 May;135(3):473-483. doi: 10.1007/s10265-022-01380-1. Epub 2022 Mar 4.


Bioactive specialized (secondary) metabolites are indispensable for plant development or adjustment to their surrounding environment. In many plants, these specialized metabolites are accumulated in specifically differentiated cells. Catharanthus roseus is a well-known medicinal plant known for producing many kinds of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIAs). C. roseus has two types of specifically differentiated cells accumulating MIAs, so-called idioblast cells and laticifer cells. In this study, we compared each of the cells as they changed during seedling growth, and found that the fluorescent metabolites accumulated in these cells were differentially regulated. Analysis of fluorescent compounds revealed that the fluorescence observed in these cells was emitted from the compound serpentine. Further, we found that the serpentine content of leaves increased as leaves grew. Our findings suggest that idioblast cells and laticifer cells have different biological roles in MIA biosynthesis and its regulation.

Keywords: Catharanthus roseus; Idioblast cell; Laticifer cell; Monoterpenoid indole alkaloid; Serpentine; Specialized metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Catharanthus* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Seedlings / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins