Functional characterisation of Artemisia annua jasmonic acid carboxyl methyltransferase: a key enzyme enhancing artemisinin biosynthesis

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Planta. 2024 May 12;259(6):152. doi: 10.1007/s00425-024-04433-y.

ABSTRACT

Overexpression of Artemisia annua jasmonic acid carboxyl methyltransferase (AaJMT) leads to enhanced artemisinin content in Artemisia annua. Artemisinin-based combination therapies remain the sole deterrent against deadly disease malaria and Artemisia annua remains the only natural producer of artemisinin. In this study, the 1101 bp gene S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM): Artemisia annua jasmonic acid carboxyl methyltransferase (AaJMT), was characterised from A. annua, which converts jasmonic acid (JA) to methyl jasmonate (MeJA). From phylogenetic analysis, we confirmed that AaJMT shares a common ancestor with Arabidopsis thaliana, Eutrema japonica and has a close homology with JMT of Camellia sinensis. Further, the Clustal Omega depicted that the conserved motif I, motif III and motif SSSS (serine) required to bind SAM and JA, respectively, are present in AaJMT. The relative expression of AaJMT was induced by wounding, MeJA and salicylic acid (SA) treatments. Additionally, we found that the recombinant AaJMT protein catalyses the synthesis of MeJA from JA with a Km value of 37.16 ┬ÁM. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis of serine-151 in motif SSSS to tyrosine, asparagine-10 to threonine and glutamine-25 to histidine abolished the enzyme activity of AaJMT, thus indicating their determining role in JA substrate binding. The GC-MS analysis validated that mutant proteins of AaJMT were unable to convert JA into MeJA. Finally, the artemisinin biosynthetic and trichome developmental genes were upregulated in AaJMT overexpression transgenic lines, which in turn increased the artemisinin content.

PMID:38735012 | DOI:10.1007/s00425-024-04433-y