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J Exp Bot. 2010 Jun;61(11):2967-77. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq123. Epub 2010 May 17.

Functional characterization of a carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 1 and its relation to the carotenoid accumulation and volatile emission during the floral development of Osmanthus fragrans Lour.

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Integrated Bioscience Section, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan.


Carotenoids are the precursors of important fragrance compounds in flowers of Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. aurantiacus, which exhibit the highest diversity of carotenoid-derived volatiles among the flowering plants investigated. A cDNA encoding a carotenoid cleavage enzyme, OfCCD1, was identified from transcripts isolated from flowers of O. fragrans Lour. It is shown that the recombinant enzymes cleave carotenes to produce alpha-ionone and beta-ionone in in vitro assays. It was also found that carotenoid content, volatile emissions, and OfCCD1 transcript levels are subjected to photorhythmic changes and principally increased during daylight hours. At the times when OfCCD1 transcript levels reached their maxima, the carotenoid content remained low or slightly decreased. The emission of ionones was also higher during the day; however, emissions decreased at a lower rate than the transcript levels. Moreover, carotenoid content increased from the first to the second day, whereas the volatile release decreased, and the OfCCD1 transcript levels displayed steady-state oscillations, suggesting that the substrate availability in the cellular compartments is changing or other regulatory factors are involved in volatile norisoprenoid formation. Furthermore, the sensory evaluation of the aroma of the model mixtures suggests that the proportionally higher contribution of alpha-ionone and beta-ionone to total volatile emissions in the evening is probably the reason for the increased perception by humans of the scent emission of Osmanthus flowers.

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