Tyrosine biosynthesis, metabolism, and catabolism in plants

Phytochemistry. 2018 May;149:82-102. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.02.003. Epub 2018 Feb 23.


L-Tyrosine (Tyr) is an aromatic amino acid (AAA) required for protein synthesis in all organisms, but synthesized de novo only in plants and microorganisms. In plants, Tyr also serves as a precursor of numerous specialized metabolites that have diverse physiological roles as electron carriers, antioxidants, attractants, and defense compounds. Some of these Tyr-derived plant natural products are also used in human medicine and nutrition (e.g. morphine and vitamin E). While the Tyr biosynthesis and catabolic pathways have been extensively studied in microbes and animals, respectively, those of plants have received much less attention until recently. Accumulating evidence suggest that the Tyr biosynthetic pathways differ between microbes and plants and even within the plant kingdom, likely to support the production of lineage-specific plant specialized metabolites derived from Tyr. The interspecies variations of plant Tyr pathway enzymes can now be used to enhance the production of Tyr and Tyr-derived compounds in plants and other synthetic biology platforms.

Keywords: (Z)-p-hydroxyphenyl-acetaldoxime (PubChem CID: 5459810) (14); 4-fumarylacetoacetate (PubChem CID: 5459934) (9); 4-hydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (PubChem CID: 440113) (29); 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate (PubChem CID: 6971070) (6); 4-maleylacetoacetate (PubChem CID: 5280393) (8); Amino acid; Arogenate dehydrogenase; Beta-tyrosine (PubChem CID: 440311) (30); L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (PubChem CID: 6047) (16); L-arogenate (PubChem CID: 25244469) (3); L-phenylalanine (PubChem CID: 6140 ) (2); L-tyrosine (PubChem CID: 6057) (1); Natural products; Prephenate dehydrogenase; Primary metabolism; Shikimate pathway; Specialized metabolism; Tyrosine; acetoacetate (PubChem CID: 6971017) (11); betacyanin (PubChem CID: 6325284) (17); betaxanthin (PubChem CID: 25245127) (18); chorismate (PubChem CID: 12039) (5); colchicine (PubChem CID: 6167) (21); crinine (PubChem CID: 398937) (26); dhurrin (PubChem CID: 161355) (15); epinephrine (PubChem CID: 5816) (24); feruloyltyramine (PubChem CID: 5280537) (25); fumarate (PubChem CID: 5460307) (10); homogentisate (PubChem CID: 5460389) (7); hordenine (PubChem CID: 68313) (27); morphine (PubChem CID: 5288826) (20); p-coumarate (PubChem CID: 54708745) (23); plastoquinone (PubChem CID: 11647660) (13); prephenate (PubChem CID: 1028) (4); rosmarinic acid (PubChem CID: 5281792) (22); salidroside (PubChem CID: 159278) (28); tyramine (PubChem CID: 5610) (19); vitamin E (PubChem CID: 2116) (12).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Plants*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Tyrosine