Metabolomic analysis of methyl jasmonate-induced triterpenoid production in the medicinal herb centella asiatica (L.) urban

Jacinda T. James, Fidele Tugizimana, Paul A. Steenkamp, Ian A. Dubery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Centella asiatica is an important source of biologically active pentacyclic triterpenoids. The enhancement of the biosynthesis of the centellosides by manipulation of associated metabolic pathways is receiving much attention. Jasmonates play critical roles in plant metabolism by up-regulating the expression of genes related to secondary metabolites. Here, we investigated the effect of methyl jasmonate (MeJa) in C. asiatica through targeted metabolomic profiling of asiaticoside and madecassoside as well as their aglycones, asiatic acid and madecassic acid. Cell suspensions were treated with 0.2 mM MeJa for 2, 4 and 6 days. Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to explore induced changes in metabolite profiles, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Principal component analysis (PCA)-derived scores plots revealed clusters of sample replicates for control and treated samples at 2, 4 and 6 days while loading plots aided in identifying signatory biomarkers (asiatic acid and madecassic acid, as well as asiaticoside and madecassoside) that clearly demonstrate the variability between samples. In addition to increased biosynthesis of the targeted centelloids, other differential changes in the intracellular metabolite profiles reflected the response of the C. asiatica cells to the MeJa-treatment as a reprogramming of the metabolome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4267-4281
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Centella asiatica
  • Centelloids
  • LC-MS
  • Metabolic profiling
  • Metabolomics
  • Triterpenoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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