J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2021, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (7): 1211-1226.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13076

Special Issue: Development Abiotic stress Evolution

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

An update on the function and regulation of methylerythritol phosphate and mevalonate pathways and their evolutionary dynamics

Xiaojun Pu1,2†, Xiumei Dong1,2†, Qing Li2,3, Zexi Chen2,4 and Li Liu1,2*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering, Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Green Transformation of Bio‐Resources, Hubei Key Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Hubei University, Wuhan 434200, China
    2 Key Laboratory for Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant Resources, Kunming 650201, China
    3 School of Life Sciences, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
    4 University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: Li Liu (liulia@mail.kib.ac.cn)
  • Received:2021-01-05 Accepted:2021-02-02 Online:2021-02-02 Published:2021-07-01

Abstract: Isoprenoids are among the largest and most chemically diverse classes of organic compounds in nature and are involved in the processes of photosynthesis, respiration, growth, development, and plant responses to stress. The basic building block units for isoprenoid synthesis—isopentenyl diphosphate and its isomer dimethylallyl diphosphate—are generated by the mevalonate (MVA) and methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathways. Here, we summarize recent advances on the roles of the MEP and MVA pathways in plant growth, development and stress responses, and attempt to define the underlying gene networks that orchestrate the MEP and MVA pathways in response to developmental or environmental cues. Through phylogenomic analysis, we also provide a new perspective on the evolution of the plant isoprenoid pathway. We conclude that the presence of the MVA pathway in plants may be associated with the transition from aquatic to subaerial and terrestrial environments, as lineages for its core components are absent in green algae. The emergence of the MVA pathway has acted as a key evolutionary event in plants that facilitated land colonization and subsequent embryo development, as well as adaptation to new and varied environments.

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