Molecular cloning and characterization of drimenol synthase from valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis)

Moonhyuk Kwon, Stephen A Cochrane, John C Vederas, Dae-Kyun Ro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Drimenol, a sesquiterpene alcohol, and its derivatives display diverse bio-activities in nature. However, a drimenol synthase gene has yet to be identified. We identified a new sesquiterpene synthase cDNA (VoTPS3) in valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis). Purification and NMR analyses of the VoTPS3-produced terpene, and characterization of the VoTPS3 enzyme confirmed that VoTPS3 synthesizes (-)-drimenol. In feeding assays, possible reaction intermediates, farnesol and drimenyl diphosphate, could not be converted to drimenol, suggesting that the intermediate remains tightly bound to VoTPS3 during catalysis. A mechanistic consideration of (-)-drimenol synthesis suggests that drimenol synthase is likely to use a protonation-initiated cyclization, which is rare for sesquiterpene synthases. VoTPS3 can be used to produce (-)-drimenol, from which useful drimane-type terpenes can be synthesized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4597-4603
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number24
Early online date04 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2014


  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Ligases
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Terpenes
  • Valerian
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular cloning and characterization of drimenol synthase from valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this