Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Plant Physiol. 2005 May;138(1):421-32. Epub 2005 Apr 1.

Betaxanthins as substrates for tyrosinase. An approach to the role of tyrosinase in the biosynthetic pathway of betalains.

Author information

  • 1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular A, Unidad Docente de Biología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Murcia, E-30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain.


Tyrosinase or polyphenol oxidase (EC is the key enzyme in melanin biosynthesis and in the enzymatic browning of fruits and vegetables. The role of tyrosinase in the secondary metabolism of plants still remains unclear, but its implication in betalain biosynthesis has been proposed. Betalains are an important class of water-soluble pigments, characteristic of plants belonging to the order Caryophyllales. In this article, the betaxanthins, tyrosine-betaxanthin (portulacaxanthin II) and dopaxanthin, are reported to be physiological substrates for tyrosinase. The direct activity of tyrosinase on selected betaxanthins is characterized in depth, and conversion of tyrosine-betaxanthin to dopaxanthin and its further oxidation to a series of compounds are described. Identity of the reaction products was studied by high-performance liquid chromatography and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. Masses determined for the reaction products were the same in all cases, 389 m/z ([M + H]+) and equal to that determined for betanidin. Data indicate that dopaxanthin-quinone is obtained and evolves to more stable species by intramolecular cyclization. Kinetic parameters for tyrosinase acting on dopaxanthin were evaluated, showing a high affinity for this substrate (K(m) = 84.3 microM). The biosynthetic scheme of betalains is reviewed and a branch is proposed based on the description of physiological substrates for tyrosinase. Lampranthus productus, Glottiphylum oligocarpum, and Glottiphylum pigmaeum are described as sources of stereopure (2S/S)-dopaxanthin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center