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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2006 Jun;9(3):315-21. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Plant carotenoid cleavage oxygenases and their apocarotenoid products.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Jack H Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


The oxidative cleavage of carotenoids leads to the production of apocarotenoids and is catalyzed by a family of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases (CCDs). CCDs often exhibit substrate promiscuity, which probably contributes to the diversity of apocarotenoids found in nature. Biologically and commercially important apocarotenoids include the phytohormone abscisic acid, the visual and signaling molecules retinal and retinoic acid, and the aromatic volatile beta-ionone. Unexpected properties associated with the CCD catalytic products emphasize their role in many aspects of plant growth and development. For instance, CCD7 and CCD8 produce a novel, graft-transmissible hormone that controls axillary shoot growth in plants. Here, CCDs are discussed according to their roles in the biosynthesis of these products. Recent studies regarding their mechanism of action are also addressed.

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