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J Exp Bot. 2000 Sep;51(350):1563-74.

Control of abscisic acid synthesis.

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  • 1Plant Science Division, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK.


The abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthetic pathway involves the formation of a 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid precursor. Oxidative cleavage then results in the formation of xanthoxin, which is subsequently converted to ABA. A number of steps in the pathway may control ABA synthesis, but particular attention has been given to the enzyme involved in the oxidative cleavage reaction, i.e. 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED). Cloning of a gene encoding this enzyme in maize was first reported in 1997. Mapping and DNA sequencing studies indicated that a wilty tomato mutant was due to a deletion in the gene encoding an enzyme with a very similar amino acid sequence to this maize NCED. The potential use of this gene in altering ABA content will be discussed together with other genes encoding ABA biosynthetic enzymes.

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