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Title: Alkylresorcinol biosynthesis in plants: new insights from an ancient enzyme family

item Baerson, Scott
item SCHRODER, JOACHIM - University Of Freiburg
item Cook, Daniel
item Rimando, Agnes
item Pan, Zhiqiang - Peter
item Dayan, Franck
item NOONAN, BRICE - University Of Mississippi
item Duke, Stephen

Submitted to: Plant Signaling and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2010
Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Citation: Baerson, S.R., Schroder, J., Cook, D., Rimando, A.M., Pan, Z., Dayan, F.E., Noonan, B.P., Duke, S.O. 2010. Alkylresorcinol biosynthesis in plants: new insights from an ancient enzyme family. Plant Signaling and Behavior. 5(10):1-4.

Interpretive Summary: In this manuscript we provide additional perspectives, commentary, and data concerning our unit’s research on identifying alkylresorcinol synthase genes from sorghum and rice. The enzymes from sorghum participate in the synthesis of the chemical sorgoleone, which is manufactured in root hair cells of the sorghum plant. These sequences, along with the rice genome sequence, were used to find similar genes in rice. We also present new analyses showing that additional undiscovered alkylresorcinol genes likely occur in rice plants, as well as gene expression data culled from publicly-available data repositories. The manuscript also considers possible evolutionary routes for the emergence of this family of enzymes in plants, and based on available evidence, proposes that the family is in fact quite ancient and likely existed in more primitive organisms prior to the appearance of plants.

Technical Abstract: Alkylresorcinols are members of an extensive family of bioactive compounds referred to as phenolic lipids, which occur primarily in plants, fungi, and bacteria. In plants, alkylresorcinols and their derivatives are thought to serve important roles as phytoanticipins and allelochemicals, although direct evidence for this is still somewhat lacking. Specialized type III polyketide synthases (referred to as ‘alkylresorcinol synthases’), which catalyze the formation of 5-alkylresorcinols using fatty acyl-CoA starter units and malonyl-CoA extender units, have been characterized from several microbial species however until very recently, little has been known concerning their plant counterparts. Through the use of sorghum and rice EST and genomic data sets, significant inroads have now been made in this regard. Here we provide additional information concerning our recent report on the identification and characterization of alkylresorcinol synthases from Sorghum bicolor and Oryza sativa, as well as a brief consideration of the emergence of this intriguing subfamily of enzymes.