Isoprenoid biosynthesis via a mevalonate-independent pathway in plants: cloning and heterologous expression of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase from peppermint

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999 May 1;365(1):170-4. doi: 10.1006/abbi.1999.1168.


Two distinct pathways are utilized by plants for the biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate, the universal precursor of isoprenoids. The classical acetate/mevalonate pathway operates in the cytosol, whereas plastidial isoprenoids originate via a novel mevalonate-independent route that involves a transketolase-catalyzed condensation of pyruvate and D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate to yield 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate as the first intermediate. Based on in vivo feeding experiments, rearrangement and reduction of deoxyxylulose phosphate have been proposed to give rise to 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol-4-phosphate as the second intermediate of this pyruvate/glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate pathway (1-3). The cloning of an Escherichia coli gene encoding an enzyme capable of converting 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate to 2-C-erythritol-4-phosphate was recently reported (4). A cloning strategy was developed for isolating the gene encoding a plant homolog of this enzyme from peppermint (Mentha x piperita), and the identity of the resulting cDNA was confirmed by heterologous expression in E. coli. Unlike the microbial reductoisomerase, the plant ortholog encodes a preprotein bearing an N-terminal plastidial transit peptide that directs the enzyme to plastids where the mevalonate-independent pathway operates in plants. The peppermint gene comprises an open reading frame of 1425 nucleotides which, when the plastidial targeting sequence is excluded, encodes a deduced enzyme of approximately 400 amino acid residues with a mature size of about 43.5 kDa.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aldose-Ketose Isomerases / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Erythritol / analogs & derivatives
  • Erythritol / metabolism
  • Hemiterpenes*
  • Lamiaceae / enzymology*
  • Lamiaceae / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Pentosephosphates / metabolism
  • Plastids / enzymology*
  • Plastids / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sugar Phosphates / metabolism
  • Terpenes / metabolism*


  • 1-deoxylulose 5-phosphate
  • 2-C-methylerythritol 4-phosphate
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pentosephosphates
  • Sugar Phosphates
  • Terpenes
  • isopentenyl pyrophosphate
  • Oxidoreductases
  • 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase
  • Aldose-Ketose Isomerases
  • Erythritol

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF116825