Identification of Species in Tripterygium (Celastraceae) based on DNA barcoding

Xiaomei Zhang, Na Li, Yuanyuan Yao, Xuming Liang, Xianyou Qu, Xiang Liu, Yingjie Zhu, Dajian Yang, Wei Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Species of genus Tripterygium (Celastraceae) have attracted much attention owing to their excellent effect on treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. However, due to high market demand causing overexploitation, natural populations of genus Tripterygium have rapidly declined. Tripterygium medicinal materials are mainly collected from the wild, making the quality of medicinal materials unstable. Additionally, identification of herbal materials from Tripterygium species and their adulterants is difficult based on morphological characters. Therefore, an accurate, convenient, and stability method is urgently needed. In this wok, we developed a DNA barcoding technique to distinguish T. wilfordii HOOK. f., T. hypoglaucum (LÉVL.) HUTCH, and T. regelii SPRAGUE et TAKEDA and their adulterants based on four uniform and standard DNA regions (internal transcribed spacer 2(ITS2), matK, rbcL, and psbA-trnH). DNA was extracted from 26 locations of fresh leaves. Phylogenetic tree was constructed with Neighbor-Joining (NJ) method, while barcoding gap was analyzed to assess identification efficiency. Compared with the other DNA barcodes applied individually or in combination, ITS2-psbA-trnH was demonstrated as the optimal barcode. T. hypoglaucum and T. wilfordii can be considered as conspecific, while T. regelii was recognized as a separate species. Furthermore, identification of commercial Tripterygium samples was conducted using BLAST against GenBank and Species Identification System for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our results indicated that DNA barcoding is a convenient, effective, and stability method to identify and distinguish Tripterygium and its adulterants, and could be applied as the quality control for Tripterygium medicinal preparations and monitoring of the medicinal herb trade in markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1760-1766
Number of pages7
JournalBiological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2016


  • DNA barcoding
  • Internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2)
  • PsbA-trnH
  • Tripterygium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of Species in Tripterygium (Celastraceae) based on DNA barcoding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this