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J Biol Chem. 2011 Aug 12;286(32):27980-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.265652. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Characterization of a novel sesquiterpene cyclase involved in (+)-caryolan-1-ol biosynthesis in Streptomyces griseus.

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Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8567, Japan.


Most terpenoids have been isolated from plants and fungi and only a few from bacteria. However, an increasing number of genome sequences indicate that bacteria possess a variety of terpenoid cyclase genes. We characterized a sesquiterpene cyclase gene (SGR2079, named gcoA) found in Streptomyces griseus. When expressed in Streptomyces lividans, gcoA directed production of a sesquiterpene, isolated and determined to be (+)-caryolan-1-ol using spectroscopic analyses. (+)-Caryolan-1-ol was also detected in the crude cell lysate of wild-type S. griseus but not in a gcoA knockout mutant, indicating that GcoA is a genuine (+)-caryolan-1-ol synthase. Enzymatic properties were characterized using N-terminally histidine-tagged GcoA, produced in Escherichia coli. As expected, incubation of the recombinant GcoA protein with farnesyl diphosphate yielded (+)-caryolan-1-ol. However, a small amount of another sesquiterpene was also detected. This was identified as the bicyclic sesquiterpene hydrocarbon (+)-β-caryophyllene by comparison with an authentic sample using GC-MS. Incorporation of a deuterium atom into the C-9 methylene of (+)-caryolan-1-ol in an in vitro GcoA reaction in deuterium oxide indicated that (+)-caryolan-1-ol was synthesized by a proton attack on the C-8/C-9 double bond of (+)-β-caryophyllene. Several β-caryophyllene synthases have been identified from plants, but these cannot synthesize caryolan-1-ol. Although caryolan-1-ol has been isolated previously from several plants, the enzyme responsible for its biosynthesis has not been identified previously. GcoA is thus the first known caryolan-1-ol synthase. Isolation of caryolan-1-ol from microorganisms is unprecedented.

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