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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012;63:73-105. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042811-105439.

The shikimate pathway and aromatic amino Acid biosynthesis in plants.

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Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010, USA.


L-tryptophan, L-phenylalanine, and L-tyrosine are aromatic amino acids (AAAs) that are used for the synthesis of proteins and that in plants also serve as precursors of numerous natural products, such as pigments, alkaloids, hormones, and cell wall components. All three AAAs are derived from the shikimate pathway, to which ≥30% of photosynthetically fixed carbon is directed in vascular plants. Because their biosynthetic pathways have been lost in animal lineages, the AAAs are essential components of the diets of humans, and the enzymes required for their synthesis have been targeted for the development of herbicides. This review highlights recent molecular identification of enzymes of the pathway and summarizes the pathway organization and the transcriptional/posttranscriptional regulation of the AAA biosynthetic network. It also identifies the current limited knowledge of the subcellular compartmentalization and the metabolite transport involved in the plant AAA pathways and discusses metabolic engineering efforts aimed at improving production of the AAA-derived plant natural products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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