Common sage (Salvia officinalis L., Lamiaceae) is one of the most important medicinal and aromatic plants, with antioxidant, antimicrobial, spasmolytic, astringent, antihidrotic and specific sensorial properties. The essential oil of the plant, composed mainly of the monoterpenes 1,8-cineole, alpha-thujone, beta-thujone and camphor, is responsible for some of these effects. Gibberellins regulate diverse physiological processes in plants, such as seed germination, shoot elongation and cell division. In this study, we analyzed the effect of exogenously applied plant growth regulators, namely gibberellic acid (GA(3)) and daminozide, on leaf morphology and essential oil formation of two leaf stages during the period of leaf expansion. Essential oil content increased with increasing levels of gibberellins and decreased when gibberellin biosynthesis was blocked with daminozide. With increasing levels of gibberellins, 1,8-cineole and camphor contents increased. Daminozide blocked the accumulation of alpha- and beta-thujone. GA(3) at the highest level applied also led to a significant decrease of alpha- and beta-thujone. Monoterpene synthases are a class of enzymes responsible for the first step in monoterpene biosynthesis, competing for the same substrate geranylpyrophosphate. The levels of gene expression of the three most important monoterpene synthases in sage were investigated, 1,8-cineole synthase leading directly to 1,8-cineole, (+)-sabinene synthase responsible for the first step in the formation of alpha- and beta-thujone, and (+)-bornyl diphosphate synthase, the first step in camphor biosynthesis. The foliar application of GA(3) increased, while daminozide significantly decreased gene expression of the monoterpene synthases. The amounts of two of the end products, 1,8-cineole and camphor, were directly correlated with the levels of gene expression of the respective monoterpene synthases, indicating transcriptional control, while the formation of alpha- and beta-thujone was not transcriptionally regulated.
Base Sequence DNA Primers/genetics Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic/drug effects Gene Expression Regulation, Plant/drug effects Gibberellins/pharmacology* Intramolecular Lyases/genetics Intramolecular Lyases/metabolism* Monoterpenes/metabolism* Plant Growth Regulators/pharmacology Plant Leaves/drug effects Plant Leaves/growth & development Plant Leaves/metabolism Plant Oils/metabolism RNA, Messenger/genetics RNA, Messenger/metabolism RNA, Plant/genetics RNA, Plant/metabolism Salvia officinalis/drug effects* Salvia officinalis/genetics Salvia officinalis/growth & development Salvia officinalis/metabolism* Succinates/pharmacology*