Expression of paclitaxel biosynthetic genes

Taxus suspension cultures can be elicited to produce paclitaxel using methyl jasmonate (MJ). MJ elicitation of Taxus suspension cultures increases the mRNA levels of the known paclitaxel biosynthetic pathway genes within six hours after elicitation. Transcript levels peak at 12H to 18H and then taper off to basal levels within 30H. The taxane accumulation profile mirrors transcript profiles, but with a 12-18H lag. Remarkably, the steady state levels of the two terminal enzyme transcripts (BAPT and DBTNBT) are much lower than transcripts of early pathway steps. These are key steps for targeted metabolic engineering to increase accumulation of paclitaxel in suspension cell culture.