The predominant polyphenol in the leaves of the resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolius, 3,4,5 tri-O-galloylquinic acid, protects membranes against desiccation and free radical-induced oxidation

Journal Article


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title

Biochemical Journal

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Portland Press


University of Cape Town

The predominant (>90%) low-molecular-mass polyphenol was isolated from the leaves of the resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolius and identified to be 3,4,5 tri-O-galloylquinic acid using 1 H and 13C one- and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy. The structure was confirmed by mass spectrometric analysis. This compound was present at high concentrations, 44%(by weight) in hydrated leaves and 74% (by weight) in dehydrated leaves. Electron microscopy of leaf material fixed with glutaraldehyde and caffeine demonstrated that the polyphenols were localized in large vacuoles in both hydrated and dehydrated leaves. 3,4,5 Tri-O-galloylquinic acid was shown to stabilize an artificial membrane system, liposomes, against desiccation if the polyphenol concentration was between 1 and 2 µg/µg phospholipid. The phase transition of these liposomes observed at 46 ◦C was markedly diminished by the presence of 3,4,5 tri-O-galloylquinic acid, suggesting that the presence of the polyphenol maintained the membranes in the liquid crystalline phase at physiological temperatures. 3,4,5 Tri-O-galloylquinic acid was also shown to protect linoleic acid against free radical-induced oxidation.