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Keywords:

  • cyclization;
  • fragmentation;
  • iridals;
  • oxidosqualene;
  • terpenoids
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Mechanistic and phylogenetic surprises: A triterpene synthase (MRN1) from Arabidopsis invokes a Grob fragmentation in the cyclization of oxidosqualene. The enzymatic product is the elusive carbocyclic precursor of iridals, unusual triterpenoids known only in the distant Iris family. The results demonstrate the power of genome mining and exemplify the facile evolution of cyclases to generate diverse triterpene skeletons.