Silencing of tryptamine biosynthesis for production
of non-natural alkaloids in plant culture
Weerawat Runguphan, Justin J. Maresh and
Sarah E. O’Connor
online in PNAS, week of August 3, 2009
Here we show that RNA mediated suppression of tryptamine biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus hairy root culture eliminates all production of monoterpene indole alkaloids. To exploit this chemically silent background, we introduced an unnatural tryptamine analog to the production media and demonstrated that the silenced plant culture could produce a variety of novel products derived from this unnatural starting substrate. Targeted suppression of substrate biosynthesis therefore appears to be a viable strategy for programming a plant alkaloid pathway to more effectively produce desirable unnatural products.