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J Biochem. 1991 Feb;109(2):341-7.

Acyclic monoterpene primary alcohol:NADP+ oxidoreductase of Rauwolfia serpentina cells: the key enzyme in biosynthesis of monoterpene alcohols.

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  • 1Department of Natural Product Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University.


Acyclic monoterpene primary alcohol:NADP+ oxidoreductase, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of monoterpene alcohols in plants, is unstable and has been only poorly characterized. However we have established conditions which stabilize the enzyme from Rauwolfia serpentina cells, and then purified it to homogeneity. It is a monomer with a molecular weight of about 44,000 and contains zinc ions. Various branched-chain allylic primary alcohols such as nerol, geraniol, and 10-hydroxygeraniol were substrates, but ethanol was inert. The enzyme exclusively requires NADP+ or NADPH as the cofactor. Steady-state kinetic studies showed that the nerol dehydrogenation proceeds by an ordered Bi-Bi mechanism. NADP+ binds the enzyme first and then NADPH is the second product released from it. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis of the reaction products showed that 10-hydroxygeraniol undergoes a reversible dehydrogenation to produce 10-oxogeraniol or 10-hydroxygeranial, which are oxidized further to give 10-oxogeranial, the direct precursor of iridodial. The enzyme has been found to exclusively transfer the pro-R hydrogen of NADPH to neral. The N-terminal sequence of the first 21 amino acids revealed no significant homology with those of various other proteins including the NAD(P)(+)-dependent alcohol dehydrogenases registered in a protein data bank.

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