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Article|16 Aug 2023|OPEN
Promoter variations in DBR2-like affect artemisinin production in different chemotypes of Artemisia annua 
Xingwen Wang1 ,† , Lan Wu1 ,† , Li Xiang1 ,† , Ranran Gao1 , Qinggang Yin1 , Mengyue Wang1 , Zhaoyu Liu2 , Liang Leng2 , Yanyan Su3 , Huihua Wan1 , Tingyu Ma4 , Shilin Chen1,2 , Yuhua Shi,1 ,
1Key Laboratory of Beijing for Identification and Safety Evaluation of Chinese Medicine, Artemisinin Research Center, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
2Institute of Herbgenomics, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu 611137, China
3Amway (China) Botanical R&D Center, Wuxi 214115, China
4Key Lab of Chinese Medicine Resources Conservation, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Xingwen Wang,Lan Wu and Li Xiang contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad164 (2023)
Views: 84

Received: 18 Jan 2023
Accepted: 09 Aug 2023
Published online: 16 Aug 2023


Artemisia annua is the only known plant source of the potent antimalarial artemisinin, which occurs as the low- and high-artemisinin producing (LAP and HAP) chemotypes. Nevertheless, the different mechanisms of artemisinin producing between these two chemotypes were still not fully understood. Here, we performed a comprehensive analysis of genome resequencing, metabolome, and transcriptome data to systematically compare the difference in the LAP chemotype JL and HAP chemotype HAN. Metabolites analysis revealed that 72.18% of sesquiterpenes was highly accumulated in HAN compared to JL. Integrated omics analysis found a DBR2-Like (DBR2L) gene may be involved in artemisinin biosynthesis. DBR2L was highly homologous with DBR2, belonged to ORR3 family, and had the DBR2 activity of catalyzing artemisinic aldehyde to dihydroartemisinic aldehyde. Genome resequencing and promoter cloning revealed that complicated variations existed in DBR2L promoters among different varieties of A. annua and were clustered into three variation types. The promoter activity of diverse variant types showed obvious differences. Furthermore, the core region (−625 to 0) of the DBR2L promoter was identified and candidate transcription factors involved in DBR2L regulation were screened. Thus, the result indicates that DBR2L is another key enzyme involved in artemisinin biosynthesis. The promoter variation in DBR2L affects its expression level, and thereby may result in the different yield of artemisinin in varieties of A. annua. It provides a novel insight into the mechanism of artemisinin-producing difference in LAP and HAP chemotypes of A. annua, and will assist in a high yield of artemisinin in A. annua.