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Methods Enzymol. 2012;515:317-35. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394290-6.00014-8.

Structure-function analyses of plant type III polyketide synthases.

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


Plant type III polyketide synthases (PKSs) form a superfamily of biosynthetic enzymes involved in the production of a plethora of polyketide-derived natural products important for ecological adaptations and the fitness of land plants. Moreover, tremendous interest in bioengineering of type III PKSs to produce high-value compounds is increasing. Compared to type I and type II PKSs, which form either large modular protein complexes or dissociable molecular assemblies, type III PKSs exist as smaller homodimeric proteins, technically more amenable for detailed quantitative biochemical and phylogenetic analyses. In this chapter, we summarize a collection of approaches, including bioinformatics, genetics, protein crystallography, in vitro biochemistry, and mutagenesis, together affording a comprehensive interrogation of the structure-function-evolutionary relationships in the plant type III PKS family.

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