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New Phytol. 2016 Aug;211(3):771-89. doi: 10.1111/nph.13981. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

Plant metabolic clusters - from genetics to genomics.

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Department of Metabolic Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.


Contents 771 I. 771 II. 772 III. 780 IV. 781 V. 786 786 References 786 SUMMARY: Plant natural products are of great value for agriculture, medicine and a wide range of other industrial applications. The discovery of new plant natural product pathways is currently being revolutionized by two key developments. First, breakthroughs in sequencing technology and reduced cost of sequencing are accelerating the ability to find enzymes and pathways for the biosynthesis of new natural products by identifying the underlying genes. Second, there are now multiple examples in which the genes encoding certain natural product pathways have been found to be grouped together in biosynthetic gene clusters within plant genomes. These advances are now making it possible to develop strategies for systematically mining multiple plant genomes for the discovery of new enzymes, pathways and chemistries. Increased knowledge of the features of plant metabolic gene clusters - architecture, regulation and assembly - will be instrumental in expediting natural product discovery. This review summarizes progress in this area.


biosynthetic gene clusters; chromatin; genome mining; natural products; operons

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