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General Information

Document type
  • Journal Article
GE organism
  • Petunia
GE trait
  • insect resistance
  • United States


  • positive effect

The indole alkaloid tryptamine produced in transgenic Petunia hybrida

Thomas, John C; Akroush, Ann M; Adamus, Glenn
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. 1999 September. 37(9):665-670

Link to full text (journal may charge for access)

DOI: 10.1016/S0981-9428(00)80096-0 ISSN: 098l-9428


Tryptophan decarboxylase (TDC) from Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle) converts tryptophan to the indole-alkaloid tryptamine, an anti-insect compound. This TDC cDNA was transformed and expressed in transgenic Petunia hybrida under the control of the strong and constitutive 35S promoter from cauliflower mosaic virus. Kanamycin screening and Southern hybridization with the TDC cDNA confirmed plant transformation. Northern analysis indicated greater TDC mRNA accumulation in transgenic plants compared to non-transformed plants. Additionally, eight-fold more tryptamine accumulated in leaves of kanamycin resistant transgenic plants compared to non-transformed plants. Flower petals from the transgenic plants contained lower tryptamine levels than their leaves. Because tryptamine titers were higher in transformed plants compared to controls, over-expression of the TDC enzyme may partially overcome endogenous tryptamine catabolism and/or other negative biosynthetic regulation. Future alteration of tryptamine breakdown in Petunia may further increase total endogenous tryptamine concentrations, potentially discouraging insect reproduction on these transgenic plants.


Allelochemicals; anti-insecticidal compounds; neuroactive compounds; transgenic plants


Funding source
  • Michigan Bedding Plants Foundation
Funding country
  • United States
Funding type
  • NGO: independent

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Cite this study


Thomas, John C, Ann M Akroush, Glenn Adamus. "The indole alkaloid tryptamine produced in transgenic Petunia hybrida." Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 37.9 (1999): 665-670. Web. 4 Mar. 2024.


Thomas, John C., Akroush, Ann M., & Adamus, Glenn. (1999). The indole alkaloid tryptamine produced in transgenic Petunia hybrida. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 37(9), 665-670. doi:10.1016/S0981-9428(00)80096-0

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