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