Cytochrome P450-catalyzed biosynthesis of furanoditerpenoids in the bioenergy crop switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.)

Andrew Muchlinski, Meirong Jia, Kira Tiedge, Jason S Fell, Kyle A Pelot, Lisl Chew, Danielle Davisson, Yuxuan Chen, Justin Siegel, John T Lovell, Philipp Zerbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Specialized diterpenoid metabolites are important mediators of plant-environment interactions in monocot crops. To understand metabolite functions in plant environmental adaptation that ultimately can enable crop improvement strategies, a deeper knowledge of the underlying species-specific biosynthetic pathways is required. Here, we report the genomics-enabled discovery of five cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYP71Z25-CYP71Z29) that form previously unknown furanoditerpenoids in the monocot bioenergy crop Panicum virgatum (switchgrass). Combinatorial pathway reconstruction showed that CYP71Z25-CYP71Z29 catalyze furan ring addition directly to primary diterpene alcohol intermediates derived from distinct class II diterpene synthase products. Transcriptional co-expression patterns and the presence of select diterpenoids in switchgrass roots support the occurrence of P450-derived furanoditerpenoids in planta. Integrating molecular dynamics, structural analysis and targeted mutagenesis identified active site determinants that contribute to the distinct catalytic specificities underlying the broad substrate promiscuity of CYP71Z25-CYP71Z29 for native and non-native diterpenoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1068
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocatalysis
  • Biological Products/chemistry
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System/genetics
  • Diterpenes/chemistry
  • Genome, Plant/genetics
  • Panicum/chemistry
  • Plant Proteins/genetics
  • Plant Roots/chemistry

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