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Plant J. 1995 Sep;8(3):417-24.

Metabolism of cyclic carotenoids: a model for the alteration of this biosynthetic pathway in Capsicum annuum chromoplasts.

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Institut de Biologie Mol├ęculaire des Plantes du CNRS, Strasbourg, France.


The biosynthetic pathway of cyclic carotenoid is known to be quantitatively and qualitatively different in the non-green plastids of Capsicum annuum fruits compared with chloroplasts. Here, the cloning is described of a novel cDNA from this organism, which encodes an enzyme catalyzing the cyclization of lycopene to beta-carotene when expressed in Escherichia coli. The corresponding gene is constitutively expressed during fruit development. Significant amino acid sequence identity was observed between this enzyme and capsanthin/capsorubin synthase which is involved in the synthesis of the species-specific red carotenoids of C. annuum fruits. The latter enzyme was found also to possess a lycopene beta-cyclase activity when expressed in E. coli. A model is proposed for the origin of the capsanthin/capsorubin synthase gene and the role of this enzyme, together with the newly cloned lycopene cyclase, in the specific re-channeling of linear carotenoids into beta-cyclic carotenoids in C. annuum ripening fruits.

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