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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Cereal Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362920

Research Project: Improvement of Biotic Stress Resistance in Durum and Hard Red Spring Wheat Using Genetics and Genomics

Location: Cereal Crops Research

Title: Molecular regulation and genetic manipulation of alkaloid accumulation in tobacco plants

item GUO, YONGFENG - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item HIATT, ERNIE - Rjr Tobacco Company
item BONNET, CHRISTELLE - Japan Tobacco International
item KUDITHIPUDI, CHENGALRAYAN - Altria Client Services
item SHI, HONGZHI - Henan Agricultural University
item PATRA, BARUNAVA - University Of Kentucky
item LEWIS, RAMSEY - North Carolina State University
item DORLHAC DE BORNE, FRANCOIS - Imperial Tobacco
item LUSSO, MARCOS - Altria Client Services
item BERGER, IRVING - British American Tobacco(BRAZIL)
item ZHANG, HONGBO - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item Yang, Shengming
item GILLES, TIJS - British American Tobacco(BRAZIL)
item XU, DONGMEI - Altria Client Services

Submitted to: Bioactive Natural Products
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2020
Publication Date: 8/1/2021
Citation: Guo, Y., Hiatt, E., Bonnet, C., Kudithipudi, C., Shi, H., Patra, B., Lewis, R.S., Dorlhac De Borne, F., Lusso, M., Berger, I., Zhang, H., Yang, S., Gilles, T., Xu, D. 2021. Molecular regulation and genetic manipulation of alkaloid accumulation in tobacco plants. In: Rahman, A., editor. Studies in Natural Products Chemistry. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier B.V. p. 119-149.

Interpretive Summary: The FDA recently announced their intention to mandate a reduction in nicotine in commercial tobacco products to “non-addictive levels”. Therefore, decreasing nicotine concentrations in tobacco leaves is of practical importance for tobacco breeders and industry. Although low levels of nicotine can be obtained through a disruption of genes involved in nicotine biosynthesis, reduction in nicotine accumulation results in adverse effects on leaf yield and quality. In this paper, we reviewed genetic pathways for nicotine biosynthesis, conversion and transport, and proposed potential means to decrease nicotine levels in tobacco plants. This paper sheds light on ways to develop tobacco varieties with both ultra-low nicotine levels and good agronomic characteristics, providing novel strategies for breeders and the tobacco industry.

Technical Abstract: Nicotine and related pyridine alkaloids of the tobacco plant are synthesized in the root and subsequently translocated via the xylem to the leaf and other aerial tissues, where they are primarily stored in vacuoles as a defensive chemical against herbivorous insects. Tobacco alkaloid accumulation depends on both biosynthesis and transport, which can be influenced by environmental conditions, phytohormones. and developmental status. Jasmonate signaling and the ERF transcription factors are known to play predominant regulatory roles. Genetic manipulation of alkaloid accumulation via traditional breeding, mutation breeding, and genetic engineering has been effective, but adverse effects on yields and cured leaf quality are frequently observed. Prospects for developing tobacco cultivars with ultra-low alkaloid levels to meet future potential regulation of combustible cigarette nicotine content are discussed.