Lignan and Norlignan Biosynthesis and Biotechnology

  • Toshiaki Umezawa
Conference paper

Lignans and norlignans are two major classes of plant phenylpropanoid compounds and their biosynthesis has been receiving widespread interests for their importance in heartwood formation and pharmaceutical applications (Umezawa, 2003, 2005).

Initial steps of the lignan biosynthetic pathway, that is, the pathway from coniferyl alcohol to matairesinol, have been well-established, and several cDNAs encoding enzymes catalyzing these steps have been cloned (Umezawa, 2003, 2005). However, further conversion of matairesinol to many other lignans remained to be elucidated. For example, in spite of frequent occurrence of methoxyl groups in lignan molecules, little is known about O-methyltransferases (OMTs) involved in O-methylation of lignans including matairesinol.


Enzyme Preparation Geometrical Isomer Pharmaceutical Application Methoxyl Group Coniferyl Alcohol 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chang S-T, Wang DS-Y, Wu C-L, Shiah S-G, Kuo Y-H, Chang C-J (2000) Cytotoxicity of extractives from Taiwania cryptomerioides heartwood. Phyotchemistry 55: 227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Suzuki S, Nakatsubo T, Umezawa T, Shimada M (2002) First in vitro norlignan formation with Asparagus officinalis enzyme preparation. Chem Commun, 1088-1089.Google Scholar
  3. Suzuki S, Yamamura M, Nakatsubo T, Hattori T, Shimada M, Umezawa T (2004) A heartwood norlignan, (E)-hinokiresinol, is formed from 4-coumaryl 4-coumarate by a Cryptomeria japonica enzyme preparation. Chem Commun, 2838-2839.Google Scholar
  4. Umezawa T (2003) Diversity in lignan biosynthesis. Phytochem Rev 2: 371-390. Umezawa T (2005) Biosynthesis of lignans, lignins, and norlignans. Kagaku to Seibutsu 43: 461-467.Google Scholar
  5. Umezawa T, Li L, Suzuki S, Sakakibara N, Nakatsubo T, Chiang VL (2004) A novel O-methyltransferase catalyzing a regioselective methylation of lignan Proceedings 49th Lignin Symposium. Tsukuba, Japan, pp. 33-36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshiaki Umezawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Sustainable HumanosphereKyoto UniversityUjiJapan

Personalised recommendations