Origin and early evolution of the plant terpene synthase family

Thumbnail Image
Jia, Qidong
Brown, Reid
Köllner, Tobias G.
Fu, Jianyu
Chen, Xinlu
Wong, Gane Ka-Shu
Gershenzon, Jonathan
Chen, Feng
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Copyright © 2022 the Author(s)
Peters, Reuben
Distinguished Professor
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
As a midsized gene family conserved more by lineage than function, the typical plant terpene synthases (TPSs) could be a valuable tool to examine plant evolution. TPSs are pivotal in biosynthesis of gibberellins and related phytohormones as well as in formation of the extensive arsenal of specialized plant metabolites mediating ecological interactions whose production is often lineage specific. Yet the origin and early evolution of the TPS family is not well understood. Systematic analysis of an array of transcriptomes and sequenced genomes indicated that the TPS family originated after the divergence of land plants from charophytic algae. Phylogenetic and biochemical analyses support the hypothesis that the ancestral TPS gene encoded a bifunctional class I and II diterpene synthase producing the ent-kaurene required for phytohormone production in all extant lineages of land plants. Moreover, the ancestral TPS gene likely underwent duplication at least twice early in land plant evolution. Together these two gave rise to three TPS lineages leading to the extant TPS-c, TPS-e/f, and the remaining TPS (h/d/a/b/g) subfamilies, with the latter dedicated to secondary rather than primary metabolism while the former two contain those genes involved in ent-kaurene production. Nevertheless, parallel evolution from the ent-kaurene–producing class I and class II diterpene synthases has led to roles for TPS-e/f and -c subfamily members in secondary metabolism as well. These results clarify TPS evolutionary history and provide context for the role of these genes in producing the vast diversity of terpenoid natural products observed today in various land plant lineages.
This article is published as Jia, Qidong, Reid Brown, Tobias G. Köllner, Jianyu Fu, Xinlu Chen, Gane Ka-Shu Wong, Jonathan Gershenzon, Reuben J. Peters, and Feng Chen. "Origin and early evolution of the plant terpene synthase family." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119, no. 15 (2022): e2100361119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2100361119. Posted with permission. This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).