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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Apr 14;95(8):4126-33.

Plant terpenoid synthases: molecular biology and phylogenetic analysis.

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  • 1Institute of Biological Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6340, USA.


This review focuses on the monoterpene, sesquiterpene, and diterpene synthases of plant origin that use the corresponding C10, C15, and C20 prenyl diphosphates as substrates to generate the enormous diversity of carbon skeletons characteristic of the terpenoid family of natural products. A description of the enzymology and mechanism of terpenoid cyclization is followed by a discussion of molecular cloning and heterologous expression of terpenoid synthases. Sequence relatedness and phylogenetic reconstruction, based on 33 members of the Tps gene family, are delineated, and comparison of important structural features of these enzymes is provided. The review concludes with an overview of the organization and regulation of terpenoid metabolism, and of the biotechnological applications of terpenoid synthase genes.

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