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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2013;64:665-700. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-050312-120116. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Network analysis of the MVA and MEP pathways for isoprenoid synthesis.

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Department of Biology, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Isoprenoid biosynthesis is essential for all living organisms, and isoprenoids are also of industrial and agricultural interest. All isoprenoids are derived from prenyl diphosphate (prenyl-PP) precursors. Unlike isoprenoid biosynthesis in other living organisms, prenyl-PP, as the precursor of all isoprenoids in plants, is synthesized by two independent pathways: the mevalonate (MVA) pathway in the cytoplasm and the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway in plastids. This review focuses on progress in our understanding of how the precursors for isoprenoid biosynthesis are synthesized in the two subcellular compartments, how the underlying pathway gene networks are organized and regulated, and how network perturbations impact each pathway and plant development. Because of the wealth of data on isoprenoid biosynthesis, we emphasize research in Arabidopsis thaliana and compare the synthesis of isoprenoid precursor molecules in this model plant with their synthesis in other prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.

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