Student Summer Scholars


Identification and Expression Analysis of Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase in Echinacea purpurea

First Advisor

Shelia Blackman


Life Sciences

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Echinacea purpurea is increasingly important as a source of medicinal phenylpropanoids. The aim of this work is to identify growth conditions that promote medicinal potency of the crop. We hypothesize that growing the plants with a legume cover crop will induce the Phenylpropanoid Pathway and lead to higher bioactive compound concentration. Phenylalanine Ammonia-Lyase (PAL) catalyses the first committed step in the Phenylpropanoid Pathway and its expression mirrors the activity of this pathway. In this study, an E. purpurea PAL sequence was obtained via Polymerase Chain Reaction using cDNA synthesized from leaf tissue and primers designed from PAL sequences of related taxa Helianthus annuus and Rudbeckia hirta. This sequence will be used to design primers to monitor expression of this gene through qPCR of plants grown with and without the legume cover crop. The results will provide an understanding of the effect of cover cropping on yield and medicinal quality of E. purpurea.