, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 731-743

Molecular cloning and characterization of triterpene synthases from Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus

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Cloning of OSCs required for triterpene synthesis from legume species that are amenable to molecular genetics will provide tools to address the importance of triterpenes and their derivatives during normal plant growth and development and also in interactions with symbionts and pathogens. Here we report the cloning and characterization of a total of three triterpene synthases from the legume species Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus. These include a β-amyrin synthase from M. truncatula (MtAMYI) and a mixed function triterpene synthase from Lotus japonicus (LjAMY2). A partial cDNA predicted to encode a β-amyrin synthase (LjAMY1) was also isolated from L. japonicus. The expression patterns of MtAMY1, LjAMY1 and LjAMY2 and of additional triterpene synthases previously characterised from M. truncatula and pea differ in different plant tissues and during nodulation, suggesting that these enzymes may have distinct roles in plant physiology and development.