Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 93–114 | Cite as

Myrosinase: gene family evolution and herbivore defense in Brassicaceae

  • Lars Rask
  • Erik Andréasson
  • Barbara Ekbom
  • Susanna Eriksson
  • Bo Pontoppidan
  • Johan Meijer


Glucosinolates are a category of secondary products present primarily in species of the order Capparales. When tissue is damaged, for example by herbivory, glucosinolates are degraded in a reaction catalyzed by thioglucosidases, denoted myrosinases, also present in these species. Thereby, toxic compounds such as nitriles, isothiocyanates, epithionitriles and thiocyanates are released. The glucosinolate-myrosinase system is generally believed to be part of the plant's defense against insects, and possibly also against pathogens. In this review, the evolution of the system and its impact on the interaction between plants and insects are discussed. Further, data suggesting additional functions in the defense against pathogens and in sulfur metabolism are reviewed.

cyanogenic glucosides glucosinolates myrosinase O-β-glucosidase plant–insect interaction 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Rask
    • 1
  • Erik Andréasson
    • 2
  • Barbara Ekbom
    • 3
  • Susanna Eriksson
    • 2
  • Bo Pontoppidan
    • 2
  • Johan Meijer
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and MicrobiologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Dept. of Plant BiologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Dept. of EntomologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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