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Identification of a Polygonum cuspidatum three-intron gene encoding a type III polyketide synthase producing both naringenin and p-hydroxybenzalacetone


Benzalacetone synthase (BAS) is a member of the plant-specific type III PKS superfamily that catalyzes a one-step decarboxylative condensation of 4-coumaroyl-CoA with malonyl-CoA to produce p-hydroxybenzalacetone. In our recent work (Ma et al. in Planta 229(3):457–469, 2008), a three-intron type III PKS gene (PcPKS2) was isolated from Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc. Phylogenetic and functional analyses revealed this recombinant PcPKS2 to be a BAS. In this study, another three-intron type III PKS gene (PcPKS1) and its corresponding cDNA were isolated from P. cuspidatum. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that PcPKS1 is a chalcone sythase (CHS). However, functional and enzymatic analyses showed that recombinant PcPKS1 is a bifunctional enzyme with both, CHS and BAS activity. DNA gel blot analysis indicated that there are two to four CHS copies in the P. cuspidatum genome. RNA gel blot analysis revealed that PcPKS1 is highly expressed in the rhizomes and in young leaves, but not in the roots of the plant. PcPKS1 transcripts in leaves were inducible by pathogen infection and wounding. BAS is thought to play a crucial role in the construction of the C6–C4 moiety found in a variety of phenylbutanoids, yet so far phenylbutanoids have not been isolated from P. cuspidatum. However, since PcPKS1 and PcPKS2 (Ma et al. in Planta 229(3):457–469, 2008) have been identified in P. cuspidatum, it is possible that such compounds are also produced in that plant, albeit in low concentrations.

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Aloesone synthase


Benzalacetone synthase


Chalcone synthase


Coenzyme A


Liquid chromatography-electron spray ionization mass spectrometry


Octaketide synthase


Polyketide synthase


Stilbene synthase


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Correspondence to Hong Wang or He-Chun Ye.

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Ma, L., Guo, Y., Gao, D. et al. Identification of a Polygonum cuspidatum three-intron gene encoding a type III polyketide synthase producing both naringenin and p-hydroxybenzalacetone. Planta 229, 1077–1086 (2009).

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  • Benzalacetone synthase
  • Chalcone synthase
  • Gene evolution
  • Phenylbutanoid biosynthesis
  • Polygonum
  • Type III polyketide synthase