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Article|05 Jul 2023|OPEN
PnMYB4 negatively modulates saponin biosynthesis in Panax notoginseng through interplay with PnMYB1
Jinhui Man1 ,† , Yue Shi2 ,† , Yuying Huang1 , Xiaoqin Zhang1 , Xin Wang1 , Shanhu Liu1 , Gaojie He1 , Kelu An1 , Dongran Han2 , Xiaohui Wang3 , and Shengli Wei,1 ,
1School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 102488, China
2School of Life and Science, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 102488, China
3Modern Research Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 102488, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad134 (2023)
Views: 121

Received: 20 Mar 2023
Accepted: 25 Jun 2023
Published online: 05 Jul 2023


Saponins are the main triterpenoid ingredients from Panax notoginseng, a well-known Chinese medicine, and are important sources for producing drugs to prevent and treat cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. However, the transcriptional regulatory network of saponin biosynthesis in P. notoginseng is largely unknown. In the present study we demonstrated that one R2R3-MYB transcription factor, designated PnMYB4, acts as a repressor of saponin accumulation. Suppression of PnMYB4 in P. notoginseng calli significantly increased the saponin content and the expression level of saponin biosynthetic genes. PnMYB4 directly bound to the promoters of key saponin biosynthetic genes, including PnSSPnSE, and PnDS, to repress saponin accumulation. PnMYB4 and the activator PnMYB1 could interacted with PnbHLH, which is a positive regulator of saponin biosynthesis, to modulate the biosynthesis of saponin. PnMYB4 competed with PnMYB1 for binding to PnbHLH, repressing activation of the promoters of saponin structural genes induced by the PnMYB1-PnbHLH complex. Our study reveals that a complex regulatory module of saponin biosynthesis is associated with positive and negative MYB transcriptional regulators and provides a theoretical basis for improving the content of saponins and efficacy of P. notoginseng.