Identification and characterization of multiple curcumin synthases from the herb Curcuma longa

FEBS Lett. 2009 Sep 3;583(17):2799-803. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.07.029. Epub 2009 Jul 19.


Curcuminoids are pharmaceutically important compounds isolated from the herb Curcuma longa. Two additional type III polyketide synthases, named CURS2 and CURS3, that are capable of curcuminoid synthesis were identified and characterized. In vitro analysis revealed that CURS2 preferred feruloyl-CoA as a starter substrate and CURS3 preferred both feruloyl-CoA and p-coumaroyl-CoA. These results suggested that CURS2 synthesizes curcumin or demethoxycurcumin and CURS3 synthesizes curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin. The availability of the substrates and the expression levels of the three different enzymes capable of curcuminoid synthesis with different substrate specificities might influence the composition of curcuminoids in the turmeric and in different cultivars.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curcuma / enzymology*
  • Curcumin / chemistry
  • Curcumin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Ligases / genetics
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Isoenzymes
  • Ligases
  • curcuminoid synthase, Curcuma longa
  • Curcumin