Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 60681
Title Amorpha-4,11-diene synthase catalyses the first probable step in artemisinin biosynthesis
Author(s) Bouwmeester, H.J.; Wallaart, T.E.; Janssen, M.H.A.; Loo, B. van; Jansen, B.J.M.; Posthumus, M.A.; Schmidt, C.O.; Kraker, J.W. de; König, W.A.; Franssen, M.C.R.
Source Phytochemistry 52 (1999). - ISSN 0031-9422 - p. 843 - 854.
Department(s) Laboratory for Organic Chemistry
Plant Research International
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 1999
Abstract The endoperoxide sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin and its derivatives are a promising new group of drugs against malaria. Artemisinin is a constituent of the annual herb Artemisia annua L. So far only the later steps in artemisinin biosynthesis — from artemisinic acid — have been elucidated and the expected olefinic sesquiterpene intermediate has never been demonstrated. In pentane extracts of A. annua leaves we detected a sesquiterpene with the mass spectrum of amorpha-4,11-diene. Synthesis of amorpha-4,11-diene from artemisinic acid confirmed the identity. In addition we identified several sesquiterpene synthases of which one of the major activities catalysed the formation of amorpha-4,11-diene from farnesyl diphosphate. This enzyme was partially purified and shows the typical characteristics of sesquiterpene synthases, such as a broad pH optimum around 6.5–7.0, a molecular mass of 56 kDa, and a Km of 0.6 μM. The structure and configuration of amorpha-4,11-diene, its low content in A. annua and the high activity of amorpha-4,11-diene synthase all support that amorpha-4,11-diene is the likely olefinic sesquiterpene intermediate in the biosynthesis of artemisinin.
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