Flavone-catalyzed apoptosis in Scutellaria baicalensis

Motosuke Hirunuma, Yoshinari Shoyama, Kaori Sasaki, Seiichi Sakamoto, Futoshi Taura, Yukihiro Shoyama, Hiroyuki Tanaka, Satoshi Morimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In response to mechanical damage, roots of Scutellaria baicalensis undergo cell death within 24 h. The flavone baicalein was identified as the factor regulating apoptosis in the damaged roots of S. baicalensis. Plant apoptosis is known to be triggered by oxidative damage of DNA through oxidative bursts, whereas baicalein causes apoptosis in Scutellaria cells by a copper-dependent oxidation of nuclear DNA without inducing an oxidative burst. S. baicalensis possesses an interesting system for quickly producing this apoptosis-inducing flavone in its cells. Intact Scutellaria cells contain little baicalein but store a large amount of baicalin (baicalein 7-O-β-D-glucuronide). Stress treatment of Scutellaria cells immediately initiates hydrolysis of baicalin by endogenous β-glucuronidase, and the resulting baicalein is immediately translocated to the nucleus, leading to apoptosis. Thus, S. baicalensis possesses a unique apoptosis-inducing system that is linked with metabolism of baicalin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-760
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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