Elicitation of Phenylpropanoids and Expression Analysis of PAL Gene in Suspension Cell Culture of Ocimum tenuiflorum L.

  • Pritesh Vyas
  • Kunal MukhopadhyayEmail author
Original Paper


The accumulation of total phenylpropanoids and the real time expression of PAL genes in Ocimum tenuiflorum suspension cell cultures were investigated. A comprehensive analysis of the effects of various abiotic elicitors like jasmonic acid (JA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), salicylic acid (SA) and precursor feeder L-phenylalanine (L-phe) was done in O. tenuiflorum suspension cell cultures during elicitation. Ultra performance liquid chromatography based metabolite profiling revealed differential accumulation of three pharmaceutically important phenylpropanoids: caffeic acid, vanillin and ferulic acid. This accumulation corroborated well with real time expression of PAL genes. Biomass analysis during elicitation showed L-phe and JA moderately and MeJA and SA marginally affected the cell growth. Single and repetitive feeding with L-phe induced 22.5 fold accumulations in caffeic acid, ferulic acid and vanillin on day 16 with PAL expression increasing by 9.8–12 fold. SA (1.5 mM) induced 61 fold increase in caffeic acid accumulation with PAL expressions raised by 4.5 fold. MeJA at 25 µM promoted ferulic acid production up to 62 fold having PAL expression raised by seven fold on day 16 of elicitor treatment. Enhanced accumulation of total phenylpropanoids and elevated expression of PAL gene were observed during the course of treatment with elicitors and precursor feeder. This stipulates that PAL may modulate the biosynthesis of phenylpropanoids especially vanillin, caffeic acid and ferulic acid. The present study is of particular significance for using suspension cell culture systems of O. tenuiflorum, a less explored plant, for biotechnological production of pharmaceutically important plant secondary metabolites.


Elicitation Ocimum tenuiflorum Phenylalanine ammonia lyase Phenylpropanoids Suspension cell culture Vanillin 



The work was supported, in part, by University Grants Commission of India [34-275\2008 SR], Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India [47/MFPI/R&D/2006/517] and Infrastructure Development Fund, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Jharkhand [5/B.K.V/Misc/12/2001]. Drs. I. Haque and I. K. Renu’s excellent technical assistance during UPLC experiments is also acknowledged. Fellowship was provided to PV by BIT-Mesra.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest among the authors for publication of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

40011_2017_858_MOESM1_ESM.doc (244 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 243 kb)


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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bio-EngineeringBirla Institute of Technology, MesraRanchiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology, Akal College of AgricultureEternal UniversityBaru SahibIndia

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