Carotenoid metabolism in plants

Mol Plant. 2015 Jan;8(1):68-82. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2014.12.007. Epub 2014 Dec 17.


Carotenoids are mostly C40 terpenoids, a class of hydrocarbons that participate in various biological processes in plants, such as photosynthesis, photomorphogenesis, photoprotection, and development. Carotenoids also serve as precursors for two plant hormones and a diverse set of apocarotenoids. They are colorants and critical components of the human diet as antioxidants and provitamin A. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of the genes and enzymes involved in carotenoid metabolism and describe recent progress in understanding the regulatory mechanisms underlying carotenoid accumulation. The importance of the specific location of carotenoid enzyme metabolons and plastid types as well as of carotenoid-derived signals is discussed.

Keywords: carotenoid biosynthesis; degradation; development; plastids; sequestration; signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / metabolism*
  • Hemiterpenes / metabolism
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Plastids / metabolism*
  • Xanthophylls / metabolism


  • Hemiterpenes
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Xanthophylls
  • isopentenyl pyrophosphate
  • Carotenoids