Recent advances regarding diterpene cyclase genes in higher plants and fungi

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 May;72(5):1168-75. doi: 10.1271/bbb.80044. Epub 2008 May 7.


Cyclic diterpenoids are commonly biosynthesized from geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGDP) through the formation of carbon skeletons by specific cyclases and subsequent chemical modifications, such as oxidation, reduction, methylation, and glucosidation. A variety of diterpenoids are produced in higher plants and fungi. Rice produces four classes of diterpene phytoalexins, phytocassanes A to E, oryzalexins A to F, oryzalexin S, and momilactones A and B. The six diterpene cyclase genes involved in the biosynthesis of these phytoalexins were identified and characterized. Fusicoccin A was produced by the phytopathogenic Phomopsis amygdali and served as a plant H(+)-ATPase activator. A PaFS, encoding a fungal diterpene synthase responsible for fusicoccin biosynthesis, was isolated. The PaFS is an unusual chimeric diterpene synthase that possesses not only terpene cyclase activity (the formation of fusicoccadiene, a biosynthetic precursor of fusicoccin A), but also prenyltransferase activity (the formation of GGDP). Thus, we identified a unique multifunctional diterpene synthase family in fungi.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cyclization
  • Diterpenes / metabolism*
  • Fungi / enzymology*
  • Fungi / genetics*
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Lyases / genetics*
  • Lyases / metabolism*
  • Oryza / enzymology*
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism


  • Diterpenes
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Lyases