The widespread pharmaceutically important triterpenoid saponins are synthesized via isoprenoid pathway. The formation of squalene is the key regulatory point in triterpene biosynthesis, catalyzed by squalene synthase (SQS). The present study deals with the detailed characterization of SQS by molecular, biochemical, and computational means from Bacopa monniera, an immensely important medicinal plant rich in triterpenoid saponin, bacosides. A full-length SQS gene was isolated from B. monniera, characterized as B. monniera squalene synthase (BmSQS) (1242 bp) encoding 414 amino acids. Deduced amino acid sequence of BmSQS showed highly conserved consensus aspartate-rich motifs (DXXXD) and catalytic site residues. Phylogenetic analysis showed that BmSQS belongs to dicot group having closest relationship with Salvia miltiorrhiza. Semiquantitative and real-time PCR studies showed that the BmSQS messenger RNA (mRNA) expression level was higher in vegetative parts (roots) as compared to floral parts. Methyl jasmonate induces the BmSQS mRNA expression in all tissues tested, while salicylic acid, cold, and salt induce much higher expression in roots. Homology modeling and docking simulations of BmSQS showed the pivotal roles of Asp77, Asp81, Asp213, Asp217, and Tyr168 in catalysis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Plant Science