The last reaction producing brassinolide is catalyzed by cytochrome P-450s, CYP85A3 in tomato and CYP85A2 in Arabidopsis

J Biol Chem. 2005 May 6;280(18):17873-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M414592200. Epub 2005 Feb 14.


Brassinosteroids are steroidal hormones essential for the growth and development of plants. Brassinolide, the most biologically active brassinosteroid, has a seven-membered lactone ring that is formed by a Baeyer-Villiger oxidation of its immediate precursor castasterone. Despite its potential key role in controlling plant development, brassinolide synthase has not been identified. Previous work has shown that the formation of castasterone from 6-deoxocastasterone is catalyzed by members of the CYP85A family of cytochrome P-450 monooxygenases. A null mutation in the tomato Dwarf (CYP85A1) gene, extreme dwarf (d(x)), causes severe dwarfism due to brassinosteroid deficiency, but the d(x) mutant still produces fruits. Here, we show that d(x) fruits contain brassinolide at a higher level than wild-type fruits and that a new CYP85A gene, CYP85A3, is preferentially expressed in tomato fruits. Tomato CYP85A3 catalyzed the Baeyer-Villiger oxidation to produce brassinolide from castasterone in yeast, in addition to the conversion of 6-deoxocastasterone to castasterone. We also show that Arabidopsis CYP85A2, which was initially characterized as castasterone synthase, also has brassinolide synthase activity. Exogenous application of castasterone and brassinolide to the Arabidopsis cyp85a1/cyp85a2 double mutant suggests that castasterone can function as an active brassinosteroid but that its conversion into brassinolide is necessary for normal vegetative development in Arabidopsis. We postulate that castasterone is the major active brassinosteroid during vegetative growth in tomato, whereas brassinolide may play an organ-specific role in fruit development in this species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Brassinosteroids
  • Catalysis
  • Cholestanols / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Extracts / genetics
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Solanum lycopersicum / enzymology*
  • Solanum lycopersicum / genetics
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic / metabolism*


  • Brassinosteroids
  • Cholestanols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • brassinolide

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB190445