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Plant Methods. 2018 Jan 10;14:4. doi: 10.1186/s13007-017-0269-0. eCollection 2018.

Terzyme: a tool for identification and analysis of the plant terpenome.

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Computational Biology Laboratory, National Institute of Plant Genome Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, 110067 India.
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Site, Cambridge, CB2 3EA UK.



Terpenoid hydrocarbons represent the largest and most ancient group of phytochemicals, such that the entire chemical library of a plant is often referred to as its 'terpenome'. Besides having numerous pharmacological properties, terpenes contribute to the scent of the rose, the flavors of cinnamon and the yellow of sunflowers. Rapidly increasing -omics datasets provide an unprecedented opportunity for terpenome detection, paving the way for automated web resources dedicated to phytochemical predictions in genomic data.


We have developed Terzyme, a predictive algorithm for identification, classification and assignment of broad substrate unit to terpene synthase (TPS) and prenyl transferase (PT) enzymes, known to generate the enormous structural and functional diversity of terpenoid compounds across the plant kingdom. Terzyme uses sequence information, plant taxonomy and machine learning methods for predicting TPSs and PTs in genome and proteome datasets. We demonstrate a significant enrichment of the currently identified terpenome by running Terzyme on more than 40 plants.


Terzyme is the result of a rigorous analysis of evolutionary relationships between hundreds of characterized sequences of TPSs and PTs with known specificities, followed by analysis of genome-wide gene distribution patterns, ontology based clustering and optimization of various parameters for building accurate profile Hidden Markov Models. The predictive webserver and database is freely available at and would serve as a useful tool for deciphering the species-specific phytochemical potential of plant genomes.


GO clustering; Hidden Markov Models (HMM); Pathway mapping; Phytochemicals; Prenyl transferase (PT); Terpene synthase (TPS); Terpenome

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