Author(s): Colby SM, Alonso WR, Katahira EJ, McGarvey DJ, Croteau R
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Abstract The committed step in the biosynthesis of monoterpenes in mint (Mentha) species is the cyclization of geranyl pyrophosphate to the olefin (-)-4S-limonene catalyzed by limonene synthase (cyclase). Internal amino acid sequences of the purified enzyme from spearmint oil glands were utilized to design three distinct oligonucleotide probes. These probes were subsequently employed to screen a spearmint leaf cDNA library, and four clones were isolated. Three of these cDNA isolates were full-length and were functionally expressed in Escherichia coli, yielding a peptide that is immunologically recognized by polyclonal antibodies raised against the purified limonene synthase from spearmint and that is catalytically active in generating from geranyl pyrophosphate a product distribution identical to that of the native enzyme (principally limonene with small amounts of the coproducts alpha- and beta-pinene and myrcene). The longest open reading frame is 1800 nucleotides and the deduced amino acid sequence contains a putative plastidial transit peptide of approximately 90 amino acids and a mature protein of about 510 residues corresponding to the native enzyme. Several nucleotide differences in the 5'-untranslated region of all three full-length clones suggest the presence of several limonene synthase genes and/or alleles in the allotetraploid spearmint genome. Sequence comparisons with a sesquiterpene cyclase, epi-aristolochene synthase from tobacco, and a diterpene cyclase, casbene synthase from castor bean, demonstrated a significant degree of similarity between these three terpenoid cyclase types, the first three examples of this large family of catalysts to be described from higher plants.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Food Processing & Technology