Olive (Olea europaea) contains large quantity of triterpene acids including oleanolic acid (6) as a major one. Varieties of biological activities exhibited by triterpene acids attracted our attentions, especially from pharmaceutical viewpoints. Cell culture of olive plant was induced and its triterpene constituents were studied. From the cell suspension cultures, six ursane type triterpene acids; ursolic acid (9), pomolic acid (10), rotundic acid (11), tormentic acid (12), 2α-hydroxyursolic acid (13) and 19α-hydroxyasiatic acid (14), and two oleanane type acids; oleanolic acid and maslinic acid (7), have been isolated. Quantity of ursane type triterpene acids produced by cell cultures was larger than that of oleanane type. Further, a multifunctional oxidosqualene cyclase (OSC) named OEA was cloned by homology based PCRs from the same cultured cells. Major product of OEA is α-amyrin (ursane skeleton), showing good accordance to higher content of ursane-type triterpene acids in the cultured cells, and strongly suggesting OEA to be a major contributor OSC for their production.
2007 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan