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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2006 Jun;9(3):305-14. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

Biosynthetic diversity in plant triterpene cyclization.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Department of Chemistry, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


Plants produce a wealth of terpenoids, many of which have been the tools of healers and chiefs for millennia. Recent research has led to the identification and characterization of many genes that are responsible for the biosynthesis of triterpenoids. Cyclases that generate sterol precursors can be recognized with some confidence on the basis of sequence; several catalytically important residues are now known, and the product profiles of sterol-generating cyclases typically reflect their phylogenetic position. By contrast, the phylogenetic relationships of cyclases that generate nonsteroidal triterpene alcohols do not consistently reflect their catalytic properties and might indicate recent and rapid catalytic evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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