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Purdue Researchers Discover Key to Mass Producing Beneficial Plant Compounds
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: September 02, 2018 06:10AM

A group of scientists from Purdue University has discovered the switch in
plants that turns off the production of terpenoids. Terpenoids are plant
compounds that play roles in plant physiology and are used in everything
from fragrances and flavoring to biofuels and pharmaceuticals, but plants
often produce them in low quantities.

Natalia Dudareva, Purdue distinguished professor in the Department of
Biochemistry, explains that plants control metabolic pathways by regulating
the pool of monophosphates used for terpenoid production. The scientists
have already determined the "on" and "off" switches for terpenoid production
and also discovered a hidden constraint on flux through the plant terpenoid
metabolic pathway.

Isopentenyl phosphate kinases (IPK) convert pools of monophosphates into
diphosphates that can be converted through downstream processes into
terpenes. Dudareva and colleagues determined that two Nudix enzymes are
responsible for dephosphorylation. They showed that IPK and Nudix work
together to regulate product formation. However, some of these products
could be toxic to plants if plants make too much of them. This is how plants
regulate their outputs. The team is now working on methods to engineer plant
metabolic pathways to increase terpenoid production.


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