Stilbene synthase from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

FEBS Lett. 1992 Nov 16;313(1):71-4. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(92)81187-q.


Stilbene synthases are named according to their substrate preferences. By this definition, enzymes preferring cinnamoyl-CoA are pinosylvin synthases, and proteins with a preference for phenylpropionyl-CoA are dihydropinosylvin synthases. We investigated the assignment of a stilbene synthase cloned from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) as dihydropinosylvin synthase and the proposal of an additional pinosylvin synthase [1992, Plant Mol. Biol. 18, 489-503]. The results show that the previous interpretation was misled by several unexpected factors. Firstly, we found that the substrate preference and the activity of the plant-specific protein expressed in E. coli was influenced by bacterial factors. This was reduced by improvement of the expression system, and the subsequent kinetic analysis revealed that cinnamoyl-CoA rather than phenylpropionyl-CoA is the preferred substrate of the cloned stilbene synthase. Secondly, mixing experiments showed that extracts from P. sylvestris contain factor(s) which selectively influenced the substrate preference, i.e. the activity was reduced with phenylpropionyl-CoA, but not with cinnamoyl-CoA. This explained the apparent differences between plant extracts and the cloned enzyme expressed in E. coli. Taken together, the results indicate that the cloned enzyme is a pinosylvin synthase, and there is no evidence for a second stilbene synthase. This study cautions that factors in the natural and in new hosts may complicate the functional identification of cloned sequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyl Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Escherichia coli
  • Kinetics
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Acyl Coenzyme A
  • phenylpropionyl-coenzyme A
  • cinnamoyl-coenzyme A
  • Acyltransferases
  • stilbene synthase