Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2012 Jun 29;336(6089):1667-70. doi: 10.1126/science.1217411.

The rise of chemodiversity in plants.

Author information

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jack H. Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Plants possess multifunctional and rapidly evolving specialized metabolic enzymes. Many metabolites do not appear to be immediately required for survival; nonetheless, many may contribute to maintaining population fitness in fluctuating and geographically dispersed environments. Others may serve no contemporary function but are produced inevitably as minor products by single enzymes with varying levels of catalytic promiscuity. The dominance of the terrestrial realm by plants likely mirrored expansion of specialized metabolism originating from primary metabolic pathways. Compared with their evolutionarily constrained counterparts in primary metabolism, specialized metabolic enzymes may be more tolerant to mutations normally considered destabilizing to protein structure and function. If this is true, permissiveness may partially explain the pronounced chemodiversity of terrestrial plants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center