Glycosyltransferases in secondary plant metabolism: tranquilizers and stimulant controllers

Planta. 2001 Jun;213(2):164-74. doi: 10.1007/s004250000492.


Plants are exposed to a wide range of toxic and bioactive low-molecular-weight molecules from both exogenous and endogenous sources. Glycosylation is one of the primary sedative mechanisms that plants utilise in order to maintain metabolic homeostasis. Recently, a range of glycosyltransferases has been characterized in detail with regard to substrate specificity. The next step in increasing our understanding of the biology of glycosylation will require information regarding the exact role of individual glycosyltransferases in planta, as well as an insight into their potential involvement in metabolon-complexes. Hopefully, this will answer how a large number of glycosyltransferases with broad, rather than narrow, substrate specificity can be constrained in order to avoid interfering with other pathways of primary and secondary metabolism. These and other topics are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Glycosides / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Plants / enzymology*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Glycosides
  • cyanogenic glycosides
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Glycosyltransferases