Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of chrysanthemum with artemisinin biosynthesis pathway genes

Aleksey Firsov*, Tatiana Mitiouchkina, Lyubov Shaloiko, Alexander Pushin, Alexander Vainstein, Sergey Dolgov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Artemisinin-based drugs are the most effective medicine for the malaria treatment. To date, the main method of artemisinin production is its extraction from wormwood plants Artemisia annua L. Due to the limitation of this source, considerable efforts are now directed to the development of methods for artemisinin production using heterologous expression systems. Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone, synthesized through the cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate involved in other sesquiterpene biosynthetic systems. Chrysanthemum species as well as A. annua, belong to Asteraceae family, and had been characterized by containing highly content of sesquiterpenes and their precursors. This makes chrysanthemum a promising target for the production of artemisinin in heterologous host plants. Chrysanthemum (C. morifolium Ramat.) was transformed by Agrobacterium tumefaciens carrying with the binary vectors p1240 and p1250, bearing artemisinin biosynthesis genes coding: Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, artemisinic aldehyde Δ11(13) reductase, amorpha-4,11-diene monooxygenase (p1240 was targeted to the mitochondria and p1250 was targeted to the cytosol), cytochrome P450 reductase from A. annua, as well as yeast truncated 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutarylcoenzyme A reductase. This study obtained 8 kanamycin-resistant lines after transformation with the p1240 and 2 lines from p1250. All target genes were detected in 2 and 1 transgenic lines of the 2 vectors. The transformation frequency of all target genes were 0.33% and 0.17% for p1240 and p1250, relative to the total transformed explant numbers. RT-PCR analysis revealed the transcription of all transferred genes in two lines obtained after transformation with the p1240 vector, confirming the possibility of transferring genetic modules encoding entire biochemical pathways into the chrysanthemum genome. This holds promise for the development of a chrysanthemum-based expression system to produce non-protein substances, such as artemisinin.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number537
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Artemisinin
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Transgenic plants


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