Convergent evolution of sesterterpene biosynthetic repertoire in the Brassicaceae

Sesterterpenes are a family of natural products; some (derived from corals and fungi) have been shown to have antitumor, antimicrobial and antiinflamatrory activities. Huang et al. used genome mining to identify sesterterpene biosynthetic genes in the Brassicaceae. The first committed step is carried out in fungi by a bifunctional enzyme, but by two enzymes in plants. Function of the plant genes was confirmed by transient expression studies in Nicotiana benthamiana. This study provides a foundation for further studies of plant sesterterpenes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 10.1073/pnas.1705567114