2012 Volume 6 Issue 5 Pages 242-248
Steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs) are a family of nitrogenous secondary metabolites produced in solanaceous plants. In our present study, γ-solamargine and its aglycone solasodine from Solanum nigrum were found to inhibit hyphae formation of Fusarium oxysporum. As phytoalexins, the formation of SGAs was significantly increased in the plants when infected with the spore of F. oxysporum. In order to understand this inducible defense mechanism, the rate-limiting enzyme squalene synthase in the biosynthesis process of SGAs was investigated well. A full-length cDNA encoding squalene synthase was isolated from S. nigrum (the squalene synthase in S. nigrum was designated as SnSS). The full-length cDNA of SnSS was 1,765 bp and contained a 1,236 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a polypeptide of 411 amino acids. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that the deduced SnSS protein had a high similarity with other plant squalene synthases. Real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that SnSS was expressed constitutively in all tested tissues, with the highest expression in stems. After treatment with the spore of F. oxysporum, the mRNA level of SnSS was significantly increased in the infected plants in accordance with the change of SGAs.