A single terpene synthase is responsible for a wide variety of sesquiterpenes in Sorangium cellulosum Soce56

Org Biomol Chem. 2016 Apr 7;14(13):3385-93. doi: 10.1039/c6ob00130k. Epub 2016 Mar 7.


The myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum So ce56 is a prolific producer of volatile sesquiterpenes. The strain harbours one of the largest prokaryotic genomes (13.1 Mbp). However, it codes only for three type I terpene synthases (TSs; sce1440, sce6369, sce8552) and one type II TS (sce4636), responsible for the production of at least 17 sesquiterpenes. We report here the gene expression of TSs and biosynthesis of the TS products in E. coli. Comparison with the So ce56 volatiles allows the assignment of the terpenes to their synthesizing genes. Both, the geosmin synthase sce1440 and the previously examined (+)-eremophilene synthase sce8552 are highly specific. In contrast, Sce6369, the first characterized 10-epi-cubebol synthase, is responsible for the formation of most of the So ce56 sesquiterpenes, mainly cadalanes and cubebanes. In contrast, Sce4636 does not convert FPP. Having characterized the So ce56 TSs, we screened all the 27 sequenced myxobacterial species from the NCBI and JGI-IMG databases for parent genes to predict the sesquiterpenes produced by them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Myxococcales / enzymology*
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / metabolism*


  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • terpene synthase