Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Regulation of shikonin production by glutamine in Lithospermum erythrorhizon cell cultures

  • 70 Accesses


Amino acid analysis has shown that Lithosperum erythrorhizon cell suspension cultures which are unable to produce shikonin derivatives in LS medium containing ammonium accumulate a large quantity of glutamine, as compared with shikonin-producing cells cultured in the production medium M9 containing nitrate as the sole nitrogen source. The addition of glutamine to M9 medium proved to be strongly inhibitory to shikonin production. Furthermore, culture experiments using an inhibitor of glutaminase suggested that shikonin synthesis is not inhibited by ammonium released from glutamine but by glutamine itself. These findings indicate that the repression of shikonin synthesis occurs in close association with an accumulation of glutamine in cultured cells grown in a medium containing ammonium.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Fujita Y, Hara Y, Ogino T, Suga C (1981 a) Plant Cell Reports 1, 59–60.

  2. Fujita Y, Hara Y, Suga C, Morimoto T (1981 b) Plant Cell Reports 1, 61–63.

  3. Fukui H, Yoshikawa N, Tabata M (1983) Phytochemistry 22, 2451–2435.

  4. Hartman SC (1968) J. Biol. Chem. 243, 853–863.

  5. Linsmaier EF, Skoog F (1965) Physiol. Plant. 18, 100–127.

  6. Mizukami H, Konoshima M, Tabata M (1978) Phytochemistry 17, 95–97.

  7. Tabata M, Mizukami H, Hiraoka N, Konoshima M (1974) Phytochemistry 13, 927–932.

  8. White PM (1963) The Cultivation of Animal and Plant Cells (2nd ed.) Ronald Press, New York.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to M. Tabata.

Additional information

Communicated by F. Constabel

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yazaki, K., Fukui, H., Kikuma, M. et al. Regulation of shikonin production by glutamine in Lithospermum erythrorhizon cell cultures. Plant Cell Reports 6, 131–134 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00276670

Download citation


  • Nitrogen
  • Ammonium
  • Nitrate
  • Cell Suspension
  • Glutamine