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Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2007 Nov;23(6):976-81.

[Advances in sesquiterpene synthases cyclases of Artemisia annua].

[Article in Chinese]

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Phytosynthesis and Environmental Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.


Artemisinin,a new and a very potent antimalarial drug, is produced by the plant Artemisia annua L. with a very low yield ranging from 0.01% to 0.8% on a dry-weight basis. This makes artemisinin an expensive drug. Several studies reported chemical synthesis of the artemisinin, but none of them seems a viable economical alternative compared with the isolation of artemisinin from the plant. Hence, a higher artemisinin concentration in the plant is necessary for cheap antimalarial drug production. Many types of cyclic sesquiterpenes in Artemisia annua have been characterized to date, each derived from the common cyclic precursor FDP in a reaction catalyzed by a sesquiterpene synthase. Sesquiterpene synthases are widely regarded as the rate-determining regulatory enzymes in the pathways they participate, and a number of sesquiterpene synthases have been cloned from Artemisia annua up to now. This report is a brief review on the following sesquiterpene synthases: epi-cedrol synthase, amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, beta-caryophyllene synthase, (E)-beta-farnesene synthase, germacrene A synthase, as well as a new sesquiterpene synthase whose function remains largely unknown. The report is of help for a better understanding of metabolic engineering of Artemisia annua.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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