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Metabolites. 2015 May 4;5(2):270-90. doi: 10.3390/metabo5020270.

Essences in metabolic engineering of lignan biosynthesis.

Author information

1
Bioorganic Research Institute, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences, Osaka 618-8503, Japan. satake@sunbor.or.jp.
2
Bioorganic Research Institute, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences, Osaka 618-8503, Japan. koyama@sunbor.or.jp.
3
Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran. shirin_esm@yahoo.com.
4
Bioorganic Research Institute, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences, Osaka 618-8503, Japan. matsumoto@sunbor.or.jp.
5
Research Institute, Suntory Global Innovation Center (SIC) Ltd., Osaka 618-8503, Japan. eiichiro_ono@suntory.co.jp.
6
Bioorganic Research Institute, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences, Osaka 618-8503, Japan. murata-j@sunbor.or.jp.

Abstract

Lignans are structurally and functionally diverse phytochemicals biosynthesized in diverse plant species and have received wide attentions as leading compounds of novel drugs for tumor treatment and healthy diets to reduce of the risks of lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases. However, the lineage-specific distribution and the low-amount of production in natural plants, some of which are endangered species, hinder the efficient and stable production of beneficial lignans. Accordingly, the development of new procedures for lignan production is of keen interest. Recent marked advances in the molecular and functional characterization of lignan biosynthetic enzymes and endogenous and exogenous factors for lignan biosynthesis have suggested new methods for the metabolic engineering of lignan biosynthesis cascades leading to the efficient, sustainable, and stable lignan production in plants, including plant cell/organ cultures. Optimization of light conditions, utilization of a wide range of elicitor treatments, and construction of transiently gene-transfected or transgenic lignan-biosynthesizing plants are mainly being attempted. This review will present the basic and latest knowledge regarding metabolic engineering of lignans based on their biosynthetic pathways and biological activities, and the perspectives in lignan production via metabolic engineering.

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