Strigolactones (SLs) are carotenoid-derived phytohormones and rhizosphere signaling molecules for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and root parasitic weeds. Why and how plants produce diverse SLs are unknown. Here, cytochrome P450 CYP722C is identified as a key enzyme that catalyzes the reaction of BC-ring closure leading to orobanchol, the most prevalent canonical SL. The direct conversion of carlactonoic acid to orobanchol without passing through 4-deoxyorobanchol is catalyzed by the recombinant enzyme. By knocking out the gene in tomato plants, orobanchol was undetectable in the root exudates, whereas the architecture of the knockout and wild-type plants was comparable. These findings add to our understanding of the function of the diverse SLs in plants and suggest the potential of these compounds to generate crops with greater resistance to infection by noxious root parasitic weeds.
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