Plant secondary metabolites are highly evolved compounds performing different functions, and have been widely exploited from food to medicine. A constant supply of phenols, a class of secondary metabolites, provides preventive and defensive mechanisms to reduce the risk of chronic diseases in human beings; among them mono- and di-caffeoylquinic acids (monoCQAs, diCQAs) have attracted a growing academic and industrial interest in recent years. In Cynara cardunculus L. the biosynthetic pathway of chlorogenic acid (CGA, 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid) has been the subject of our several recent studies. Here, we report the state of the art on the isolation and in vitro functional characterization of the genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of the CGA: HCT (hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl-transferase), HQT (hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate hydroxyl-cinnamoyl-transferase), two HQT-like genes, we named Acyltransf_1 and Acyltransf_2, and C3’H (p-coumaroyl ester 3’-hydroxylase). Plant phenolics are known to be involved in the plant stress response and we found out that in globe artichoke the exposure to UV-C induces the production of diCQAs. In UV-C treated globe artichoke leaves, the expression level of C3´H, HCT, HQT, Acyltransf_1, Acyltransf_2 genes was strongly increased, thus confirming their involvement in the synthesis of chlorogenic acid. The development of DNA-based markers for the isolated genes made it possible to locate them within the previously developed genetic maps of the species.
Moglia, A., Comino, C., Menin, B., Portis, E., Aquadro, A., Beekwilder, M. J., Hehn, A., Bourgaud, F., & Lanteri, S. (2013). Caffeoylquinic Acids Biosynthesis and Accumulation in Cynara cardunculus: State of the Art. Acta Horticulturae, 983, 401-406. https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.983.58