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1 Section for Plant Biochemistry, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet 2 University of British Columbia 3 Sequoia Sciences, Inc. 4 Plant Biochemistry, Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet 5 University of British Columbia 6 Plant Biochemistry, Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Marrubium vulgare (Lamiaceae) is a medicinal plant whose major bioactive compounds, marrubiin and other labdane-related furanoid diterpenoids, have potential applications as anti-diabetics, analgesics or vasorelaxants. Metabolite and transcriptome profiling of M. vulgare leaves identified five different candidate diterpene synthases (diTPSs) of the TPS-c and TPS-e/f clades. We describe the in vitro and in vivo functional characterization of the M. vulgare diTPS family. In addition to MvEKS ent-kaurene synthase of general metabolism, we identified three diTPSs of specialized metabolism: MvCPS3 (+)-copalyl diphosphate synthase, and the functional diTPS pair MvCPS1 and MvELS. In a sequential reaction, MvCPS1 and MvELS produce a unique oxygenated diterpene scaffold 9,13-epoxy-labd-14-ene en route to marrubiin and an array of related compounds. In contrast with previously known diTPSs that introduce a hydroxyl group at carbon C-8 of the labdane backbone, the MvCPS1-catalyzed reaction proceeds via oxygenation of an intermediate carbocation at C-9, yielding the bicyclic peregrinol diphosphate. MvELS belongs to a subgroup of the diTPS TPS-e/f clade with unusual βα-domain architecture. MvELS is active in vitro and in vivo with three different prenyl diphosphate substrates forming the marrubiin precursor 9,13-epoxy-labd-14-ene, as identified by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis, manoyl oxide and miltiradiene. MvELS fills a central position in the biosynthetic system that forms the foundation for the diverse repertoire of Marrubium diterpenoids. Co-expression of MvCPS1 and MvELS in engineered E. coli and Nicotiana benthamiana offers opportunities for producing precursors for an array of biologically active diterpenoids. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Plant Journal, 2014, Vol 79, Issue 6, p. 914-927
diterpene synthase; diterpenoid biosynthesis; marrubiin; Marrubium vulgare; medicinal plants; natural product biosynthesis; plant specialized metabolism
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