Introduction to the Different Classes of Biosynthetic Enzymes

  • Luzia V. Modolo
  • Angelika I. Reichert
  • Richard A. Dixon


Plant natural products are intimately associated with traits such as quality, yield, disease resistance, stress tolerance, color, and fragrance, in addition to being important dietary components and phytomedicines. In spite of the apparent complexity of natural product biosynthesis, much of the rich chemical diversity of the plant kingdom arises from a limited number of chemical scaffold types, modified by specific chemical substitutions such as hydroxylation, glycosylation, acylation, prenylation, and O-methylation. The molecular genetic basis underlying plant natural product chemistry has recently been the subject of concerted genomic and genetic approaches, facilitated by the fact that many of the key enzymatic steps in scaffold formation and substitution are catalyzed by proteins originating from recognizable gene families (e.g. polyketide synthase, glucosyltransferase) that have undergone significant expansion throughout plant evolution. This overview summarizes the types of enzymatic reactions involved in plant secondary metabolism from a pathway organization perspective that highlights the entry points from primary metabolism, general scaffold formation and scaffold modification (Box 1).


Tropane Alkaloid Isoquinoline Alkaloid Plant Natural Product Polyketide Chain Prenyl Diphosphate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luzia V. Modolo
    • 1
  • Angelika I. Reichert
    • 1
  • Richard A. Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Biology DivisionSamuel Roberts Noble FoundationArdmoreUSA

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