Science in China Series C: Life Sciences

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 303–312 | Cite as

Mitogen-activated protein kinases mediate the oxidative burst and saponin synthesis induced by chitosan in cell cultures of Panax ginseng

  • Hu Xiangyang
  • Steven J. Neill
  • Fang Jianying
  • Cai Weiming
  • Tang Zhangcheng


Chitosan (CHN) specially induced the activities of 39 kD and 42 kD protein kinases in ginseng cells, which could be suppressed by an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, PD98059. The immunoprecipitation (IP) using MAPK antibody or kinase assay in vitro also showed that CHN-induced 42 kD and 39 kD protein kinases belonged to the MAPK family. PD98059 suppressed CHN-induced transcriptions of ginseng squalene synthase and ginseng squalene epoxidase genes (gss and gse), CHN-induced accumulation of β-Amyrin synthase (β-AS) and synthesis of saponin. These results showed that CHN-induced activities of MAPKs were necessary for the CHN-induced saponin synthesis. EGTA and LaCl3 suppressed CHN-induced 39 kD and 42 kD MAPK activities. Ruthenium red (RR) could suppress CHN-induced 39 kD activity. All of them suppressed CHN-induced saponin synthesis. These results indicated that CHN-induced increment of cytosolic calcium was necessary for CHN-induced saponin synthesis. PD98059 also suppressed CHN-induced oxidative burst (including the increment of activity of plasma membrane NADPH oxidase and production of H2O2), but diphenylene iodonium (DPI), dimethylthiourea (DMTU) and 2,5-dihydroxycinnamic acid methyl ester (DHC) could not suppress CHN-induced MAPK activities, which indicated that MAPK was possibly function upstream of CHN-induced oxidative burst.


mitogen-activated protein kinase chitosan saponin 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hu Xiangyang
    • 1
  • Steven J. Neill
    • 2
  • Fang Jianying
    • 1
  • Cai Weiming
    • 1
  • Tang Zhangcheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Plant ScienceUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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