Biotechnology Letters, Vol.30, No.10, 1853-1859, 2008
Triterpenoid saponin content and the expression level of some related genes in calli of Centella asiatica
Centella asiatica has been extensively studied but there has been no report to date that relates gene expression and centelloside production in non-differentiated tissues. We have determined the content of the four principal triterpenoid bioactive compounds of C. asiatica (asiaticoside, madecassoside, asiatic acid and madecassic acid) in calli grown in different media and checked the expression level of some of the genes in the centelloside biosynthetic pathway. The results when compared with data from in vitro plant cultures showed a significantly lower expression of the gene encoding beta-amyrin synthase in calli, which is consistent with the observed lower production of centellosides (less than 900 mu g/g DW), while in the plants the production was around 1.5-2 mg/g DW. Moreover, we find an efficient housekeeping gene for this plant. The biosynthesis of phytosterols is also discussed.