Missing enzymes in the biosynthesis of the anticancer drug vinblastine in Madagascar periwinkle ($) (Science)

Plants make some amazing biologically active natural products, many with impressive applications such as vinblastine, a product of Catharantus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle). Caputi et al. identified key enzymes in vinblastine synthesis, opening the door for its production in alternative systems and the production of derivative compounds. It’s an interesting story of false-starts, unstable intermediates and hard-to-express enzymes, but it ends happily with a newly defined pathway and allows “the prospect of heterologous production of these expensive and valuable compounds in alternative host organisms.” (Summary by Mary Williams) Science 10.1126/science.aat4100