J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (2): 179-186.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00395.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes

• Invited Expert Reviews • Previous Articles    

Plant terpenoids: Biosynthesis and ecological functions

Ai-Xia Cheng, Yong-Gen Lou, Ying-Bo Mao, Shan Lu, Ling-Jian Wang and Xiao-Ya Chen   

  • Online:2007-02-05 Published:2007-02-01

Abstract: Among plant secondary metabolites terpenoids are a structurally most diverse group; they function as phytoalexins in plant direct defense, or as signals in indirect defense responses which involves herbivores and their natural enemies. In recent years, more and more attention has been paid to the investigation of the ecological role of plant terpenoids. The biosynthesis pathways of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes include the synthesis of C5 precursor isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and its allylic isomer dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), the synthesis of the immediate diphosphate precursors, and the formation of the diverse terpenoids. Terpene synthases (TPSs) play a key role in volatile terpene synthesis. By expression of the TPS genes, significant achievements have been made on metabolic engineering to increase terpenoid production. This review mainly summarizes the recent research progress in elucidating the ecological role of terpenoids and characterization of the enzymes involved in the terpenoid biosynthesis. Spatial and temporal regulations of terpenoids metabolism are also discussed

Key words: chemical ecology, metabolism regulation, plant terpenoids, terpene synthase.

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