Triterpene Synthases From the Okinawan Mangrove Tribe, Rhizophoraceae

FEBS J. 2007 Oct;274(19):5028-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.06025.x. Epub 2007 Sep 4.


Oleanane-type triterpene is one of the most widespread triterpenes found in plants, together with the lupane type, and these two types often occur together in the same plant. Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L.) Lamk. and Rhizophora stylosa Griff. (Rhizophoraceae) are known to produce both types of triterpenes. Four oxidosqualene cyclase cDNAs were cloned from the leaves of B. gymnorrhiza and R. stylosa by a homology-based PCR method. The ORFs of full-length clones termed BgbAS (2280 bp, coding for 759 amino acids), BgLUS (2286 bp, coding for 761 amino acids), RsM1 (2280 bp, coding for 759 amino acids) and RsM2 (2316 bp coding for 771 amino acids) were ligated into yeast expression plasmid pYES2 under the control of the GAL1 promoter. Expression of BgbAS and BgLUS in GIL77 resulted in the production of beta-amyrin and lupeol, suggesting that these genes encode beta-amyrin and lupeol synthase (LUS), respectively. Furthermore, RsM1 produced germanicol, beta-amyrin, and lupeol in the ratio of 63 : 33 : 4, whereas RsM2 produced taraxerol, beta-amyrin, and lupeol in the proportions 70 : 17 : 13. This result indicates that these are multifunctional triterpene synthases. Phylogenetic analysis and sequence comparisons revealed that BgbAS and RsM1 demonstrated high similarities (78-93%) to beta-amyrin synthases, and were located in the same branch as beta-amyrin synthase. BgLUS formed a new branch for lupeol synthase that was closely related to the beta-amyrin synthase cluster, whereas RsM2 was found in the first branch of the multifunctional triterpene synthase evolved from lupeol to beta-amyrin synthase. Based on these sequence comparisons and product profiles, we discuss the molecular evolution of triterpene synthases and the involvement of these genes in the formation of terpenoids in mangrove leaves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Intramolecular Transferases / chemistry
  • Intramolecular Transferases / genetics
  • Intramolecular Transferases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhizophoraceae / enzymology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Triterpenes / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Triterpenes
  • Intramolecular Transferases
  • lanosterol synthase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB263203
  • GENBANK/AB263204
  • GENBANK/AB289585
  • GENBANK/AB289586