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FEBS Lett. 2009 Jan 22;583(2):475-80. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.12.052. Epub 2008 Dec 31.

Gibberellin biosynthesis in bacteria: separate ent-copalyl diphosphate and ent-kaurene synthases in Bradyrhizobium japonicum.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


Gibberellins are ent-kaurene-derived diterpenoid phytohormones produced by plants, fungi, and bacteria. The distinct gibberellin biosynthetic pathways in plants and fungi are known, but not that in bacteria. Plants typically use two diterpene synthases to form ent-kaurene, while fungi use only a single bifunctional diterpene synthase. We demonstrate here that Bradyrhizobium japonicum encodes separate ent-copalyl diphosphate and ent-kaurene synthases. These are found in an operon whose enzymatic composition indicates that gibberellin biosynthesis in bacteria represents a third independently assembled pathway relative to plants and fungi. Nevertheless, sequence comparisons also suggest potential homology between diterpene synthases from bacteria, plants, and fungi.

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