Galactinol synthase gene of Coptis japonica is involved in berberine tolerance

Kojiro Takanashi, Nobukazu Shitan, Akifumi Sugiyama, Yoshihisa Kamimoto, Masafumi Hamamoto, Tomoko Iwaki, Kaoru Takegawa, Kazufumi Yazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many plant secondary metabolites show strong biological activities and are potentially also toxic to plants, while plants producing such active compounds are usually insensitive to their own metabolites, suggesting that they have species-specific detoxification mechanisms. In order to clarify the detoxification mechanism of alkaloids, we used cultured cells of Coptis japonica, which are capable of producing a yellow benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, berberine, and accumulate it in the vacuole. Unlike other plant cells that do not produce berberine, C. japonica shows strong tolerance to this alkaloid. We established a fission yeast strain that was sensitive to berberine and performed functional screening using a C. japonica cDNA library. One cDNA clone, which conferred clear berberine tolerance, encoded galactinol synthase (CjGolS). The possible role of CjGolS in berberine tolerance is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalBioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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