A cDNA clone for taxadiene synthase, the diterpene cyclase that catalyzes the committed step of taxol biosynthesis

  • Wildung M
  • Croteau R
  • 92

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 203

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

The committed step of taxol (paclitaxel) biosynthesis is catalyzed by taxa-4(5),11(12)-diene synthase, a diterpene cyclase responsible for transforming the ubiquitous isoprenoid intermediate geranylgeranyl diphosphate to the parent olefin with a taxane skeleton. To obtain the corresponding cDNA clone, a set of degenerate primers was constructed based on consensus sequences of related monoterpene, sesquiterpene, and diterpene cyclases. Two of these primers amplified a 83-base pair fragment that was cyclase-like in sequence and that was employed as a hybridization probe to screen a cDNA library constructed from poly(A)+ RNA extracted from Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) stems. Twelve independent clones with insert size in excess of 2 kilobase pairs were isolated and partially sequenced. One of these cDNA isolates was functionally expressed in Escherichia coli, yielding a protein that was catalytically active in converting geranylgeranyl diphosphate to a diterpene olefin that was confirmed to be taxa-4(5),11(12)-diene by combined capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The sequence specifies an open reading frame of 2586 nucleotides, and the complete deduced polypeptide, including a long presumptive plastidial targeting peptide, contains 862 amino acid residues and has a molecular weight of 98,303, compared with about 79,000 previously determined for the mature native enzyme. Sequence comparisons with monoterpene, sesquiterpene, and diterpene cyclases of plant origin indicate a significant degree of similarity between these enzymes; the taxadiene synthase most closely resembles (46% identity, 67% similarity) abietadiene synthase, a diterpene cyclase from grand fir.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Mark R. Wildung

  • Rodney Croteau

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free