Bioproduction and Biosynthesis of Prenylated Stilbenoids

Stilbenoids are plant defense phenolic compounds that exhibit numerous biological activities with potential applications in plant and human health. These compounds are present in non-taxonomically related plants species, such as grape and peanut. As many other defense compounds, most stilbenoids are either absent or accumulate in very low levels in non-stressed plants, thus highlighting the need to develop a sustainable system for their production. To address this issue, our laboratory has developed hairy root cultures of stilbenoid-producing species, including peanut and muscadine grape. 

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Different types of stilbenoids have been identified in hairy roots upon elicitor treatment. In particular, peanut hairy roots produce unique types of prenylated stilbenoids and their biosynthesis is being studied using a combination of targeted metabolic and transcriptomics approaches. Using this strategy, our group has identified the first stilbenoid specific prenyltransferases (AhR3’-DT1 and AhR4-DT1). These novel genes are being used in metabolic engineering studies to produce biologically active prenylated stilbenoids in different plant species.

Biological Activity of Prenylated Stilbenoids from Peanut

Using different elicitation strategies in hairy root cultures, we have been able to produce different prenylated stilbenoids, including arachidin-1, arachidin-2, arachidin-3, and arachidin-5. These compounds are being purified from the medium of the hairy root cultures and are being analyzed in different bioassays. In particular, our laboratory is studying the anticancer activities of non prenylated and prenylated stilbenoids in different breast cancer cell lines. Using cell culture models for adipogenesis, we are also studying the anti-obesity properties of these compounds. The molecular mechanisms responsible for these activities is currently being investigated.

For further details about our research and collaborative projects check our publications and the following pending and issued patents: