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MSU discoveries upend traditional thinking about how plants make certain compounds
Date:5/26/2009

from genes that weren't supposed to be involved in monoterpene production. Because the sequences were found so frequently, they hypothesized the genes must be making high levels of compounds in the trichome.

"We had to think outside the box to figure out what the function of NDPS1 and PHS1 were," Schilmiller said. "Our colleagues at the University of Michigan, Eran Pichersky and Ines Schauvinhold, were instrumental in coming up with theories and running the assays."

Terpenes are the largest class of molecules made by plants tens of thousands of different terpenes have been identified. Some of the known functions of terpenes include attracting pollinators, repelling pests and protecting the plant from diseases, as well as giving many plants their smell and taste. The aroma of many leaf spices, such as mint and basil, come from terpenes.

These new discoveries will allow other scientists to look for similar genes in other plants and perhaps discover new enzymes that make monoterpenes, which could lead to new ways to protect plants from pests.


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Contact: Jamie DePolo
depolo@msu.edu
609-354-8403
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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