These TPSs may be used to engineer plants and other organisms with enhanced organism defence against biotic and abiotic stresses.

About

Industry Problem:

Terpene synthases (TPSs) are necessary enzymes for the biosynthesis of terpenoids, the largest class of secondary metabolites produced by plants and other organisms.  Of the seed plants with known genome sequences, all feature a gene group of 30 to 100 functional members.  In contrast, the first non-seed plant (moss) with a known genome sequence contains a single functional TPS gene.  Moreover, microbial TPSs, including bacterial and fungal TPSs, are only distantly related to plant TPSs.  Understanding the evolution of TPSs, which catalyse the most complex reactions in biology, is critical to understanding the evolution of terpenes and terpene diversity.

Technology Solution:

Dr. Feng Chen at the University of Tennessee has discovered two new TPSs in the genome sequence of a lycophyte plant, which are distinct from previously known plant TPSs and which are more closely related to bacterial and fungal TPSs.  These TPSs are both functional and feature unique gene and protein structures as well as novel biochemistry.  For example, lycophyte plants that were treated with a fungal antibiotic, which mimics pathogen infection, emitted several mono-terpenoids and sesqui-terpenoids.  These results suggest that these TPSs may be used to engineer plants and other organisms with enhanced organism defence against biotic and abiotic stresses.  In addition, these TPSs may be used in the production of novel chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and biofuels, and products with improved flavour and aroma qualities. 

 Benefits: 


Improved organism defence
Improved flavour and aroma


Applications:


Pesticides
Pharmaceuticals
Biofuels
Foods
Cosmetics


 

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