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Plant Physiol. 1996 Sep;112(1):311-318.

Characterization of Novel Sesquiterpenoid Biosynthesis in Tobacco Expressing a Fungal Sesquiterpene Synthase.

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Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 (M.Z., A.B., J.T., R.H.).


The gene encoding trichodiene synthase (Tri5), a sesquiterpene synthase from the fungus Fusarium sporotrichioides, was used to transform tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Trichodiene was the sole sesquiterpene synthase product in enzyme reaction mixtures derived from unelicited transformant cell-suspension cultures, and both trichodiene and 5-epi-aristolochene were observed as reaction products following elicitor treatment. Immunoblot analysis of protein extracts revealed the presence of trichodiene synthase only in transformant cell lines producing trichodiene. In vivo labeling with [3H]mevalonate revealed the presence of a novel trichodiene metabolite, 15-hydroxytrichodiene, that accumulated in the transformant cell-suspension cultures. In a trichodiene-producing transformant, the level of 15-hydroxytrichodiene accumulation increased after elicitor treatment. In vivo labeling with [14C]acetate showed that the biosynthetic rate of trichodiene and 15-hydroxytrichodiene also increased after elicitor treatment. Incorporation of radioactivity from [14C]acetate into capsidiol was reduced following elicitor treatment of a trichodiene-producing transformant as compared with wild type. These results demonstrate that sesquiterpenoid accumulation resulting from the constitutive expression of a foreign sesquiterpene synthase is responsive to elicitation and that the farnesyl pyrophosphate present in elicited cells can be utilized by a foreign sesquiterpene synthase to produce high levels of novel sesquiterpenoids.

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