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Trends Plant Sci. 2000 Sep;5(9):380-6.

Glycosyltransferases in plant natural product synthesis: characterization of a supergene family.

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Dept of Plant Secondary Metabolism, Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry, 06120 Halle/Saale, Weinberg 3, Germany.


Glycosyltransferases of plant secondary metabolism transfer nucleotide-diphosphate-activated sugars to low molecular weight substrates. Until recently, glycosyltransferases were thought to have only limited influence on the basic physiology of the plant. This view has changed. Glycosyltransferases might in fact have an important role in plant defense and stress tolerance. Recent results obtained with several recombinant enzymes indicate that many glycosyltransferases are regioselective or regiospecific rather than highly substrate specific. This might indicate how plants evolve novel secondary products, placing enzymes with broad substrate specificities downstream of the conserved, early, pivotal enzymes of plant secondary metabolism.

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