Nature’s assembly line: biosynthesis of simple phenylpropanoids and polyketides
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
The Plant Journal
Volume 54, Issue 4, pages 750–762, May 2008
How to Cite
Yu, O. and Jez, J. M. (2008), Nature’s assembly line: biosynthesis of simple phenylpropanoids and polyketides. The Plant Journal, 54: 750–762. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03436.x
- Issue published online: 9 MAY 2008
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2008
- Received 15 October 2007; revised 18 January 2008; accepted 23 January 2008.
- metabolic engineering;
Plants produce large amounts of phenylpropanoids, both in terms of molecular diversity and absolute quantity of these compounds. The phenylpropanoids, and the related plant polyketides, have multiple biological functions. They serve to attract pollinators, support secondary cell-wall growth, provide protection against various plant diseases, and interact with beneficial soil microbes. Their basic chemical properties also make them useful in the biofuel and biomaterial industries. Phenylpropanoid metabolism begins with the amino acid phenylalanine, which feeds into various biosynthetic pathways that generate a wide range of structurally related polyphenolic compounds. This review focuses on four sub-groups of these polyphenolic compounds – polyketides, stilbenes, isoflavones and catechins. We discuss the biosynthesis of these molecules, their physiological role in plants, and their striking pharmacological and physiological effects on humans. This review also highlights metabolic engineering efforts aimed at increasing or decreasing the amounts of each class of compound in various model plants and crops.