Scientists Discover How Chinese Medicinal Plant Makes Anti-Cancer Compound
source： | time：2016-05-17
The Chinese skullcap, Scutellaria baicalensi（Image by Dr.Qing Zhao）
As a group of compounds, the flavones are well understood. The beneficial flavones found in Huang-Qin roots, such as wogonin and baicalin, are different: a mi¬ssing - OH (hydroxyl) group in their chemical structure left scientists scratching their heads as to how they were made in the plant. Dr. Qing Zhao, the first author of the paper published in Science Advances, explains: "Wogonin and baicalin are synthesised with naringenin as a building block. Like other flavonoes, naringenin has -OH group. The enzyme responsible for the removal of this –OH group in Huang-Qin roots remains elusive."
Dr. Zhao and his British and Chinese colleagues explored the possibility that Huang-Qin's root-specific flavones (RSFs) were made via a different biochemical pathway. Step-by-step, they unravelled the mechanism involving new enzymes that make RSFs using a different building block called chrysin.