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Article|26 Oct 2022|OPEN
The SmMYB36-SmERF6/SmERF115 module regulates the biosynthesis of tanshinones and phenolic acids in salvia miltiorrhiza hairy roots
Qi Li1 ,† , Xin Fang1 ,† , Ying Zhao1 ,† , Ruizhi Cao1 , Juane Dong1 , and Pengda Ma,1 ,
1College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 71210, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Qi Li,Xin Fang and Ying Zhao contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac238 (2023)
Views: 282

Received: 28 May 2022
Accepted: 16 Oct 2022
Published online: 26 Oct 2022


Tanshinone and phenolic acids are the most important active substances of Salvia miltiorrhiza, and the insight into their transcriptional regulatory mechanisms is an essential process to increase their content in vivo. SmMYB36 has been found to have important regulatory functions in the synthesis of tanshinone and phenolic acid; paradoxically, its mechanism of action in S. miltiorrhiza is not clear. Here, we demonstrated that SmMYB36 functions as a promoter of tanshinones accumulation and a suppressor of phenolic acids through the generation of SmMYB36 overexpressed and chimeric SmMYB36-SRDX (EAR repressive domain) repressor hairy roots in combination with transcriptomic-metabolomic analysis. SmMYB36 directly down-regulate the key enzyme gene of primary metabolism, SmGAPC, up-regulate the tanshinones biosynthesis branch genes SmDXS2SmGGPPS1SmCPS1 and down-regulate the phenolic acids biosynthesis branch enzyme gene, SmRAS. Meanwhile, SmERF6, a positive regulator of tanshinone synthesis activating SmCPS1, was up-regulated and SmERF115, a positive regulator of phenolic acid biosynthesis activating SmRAS, was down-regulated. Furthermore, the seven acidic amino acids at the C-terminus of SmMYB36 are required for both self-activating domain and activation of target gene expression. As a consequence, this study contributes to reveal the potential relevance of transcription factors synergistically regulating the biosynthesis of tanshinone and phenolic acid.