Biotransformation of withanolides by cell suspension cultures of Withania somnifera (Dunal)

  • Sabir, Farzana (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants(CIMAP-CSIR)) ;
  • Sangwan, Rajender S. (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants(CIMAP-CSIR)) ;
  • Singh, Jyoti (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants(CIMAP-CSIR)) ;
  • Misra, Laxmi N. (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants(CIMAP-CSIR)) ;
  • Pathak, Neelam (Integral University) ;
  • Sangwan, Neelam S. (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants(CIMAP-CSIR))
  • Received : 2010.04.27
  • Accepted : 2010.12.20
  • Published : 2011.04.30


The biotransformation potential of cell suspension cultures generated from Withania somnifera leaf was investigated, using withanolides, i.e. withanolide A, withaferin A, and withanone as precursor substrates. Interestingly, the cell suspension cultures showed inter-conversion of withanolides, as well converted to some unknown compounds, released to the culture media. The bio-catalyzed withanolide was detected and quantified by TLC and HPLC, respectively. There is noticeable conversion of withanolide A to withanone, and vice versa though at a lower level. The type of reaction of this biotransformation appears to be substitution of 20-OH group to 17-OH in withanolide A. In this paper, we present for the first time the possibility of biotransformation by inter-conversion of withanolides of pharmacological importance through cell suspension culture of W. somnifera. The possible role of putative cytochrome $P_{450}$ hydroxylases is implicated in the conversion.


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