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Phytochemistry. 2002 Nov;61(5):523-9.

A cDNA clone for beta-caryophyllene synthase from Artemisia annua.

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  • 1Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 300 Fenglin Road, Shanghai 200032, P R, China.


An homology-based cloning strategy yielded a full-length cDNA from Artemisia annua that encoded a protein of 60.3 kDa which resembled a sesquiterpene synthase in sequence. Heterologous expression of the gene in Escherichia coli provided a soluble recombinant enzyme capable of catalyzing the divalent metal ion-dependent conversion of farnesyl diphosphate to beta-caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene olefin found in the essential oil of A. annua. In reaction parameters and kinetic properties, beta-caryophyllene synthase resembles other sesquiterpene synthases of angiosperms. The beta-caryophyllene synthase gene is expressed in most plant tissues during early development, and is induced in mature tissue in response to fungal elicitor thus suggesting a role for beta-caryophyllene in plant defense.

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