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β-amyrin synthase, one of the most important key enzymes for triterpene skeleton formation in higher plants

Yong-Sheng Ma, Rui Yang, Shan Zhou, Yan-Chao Yin, Xiao-Dong Zhang and Ying Liu

β-amyrin synthase (β-AS) is one of the most important key enzymes involved in mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway. It is a cyclase responsible for cyclization of 2, 3-oxidosqualene into β-amyrin, which is defined as an important branch point between primary and secondary metabolism. It has been found in 37higher plant species. In this paper, we obtained 475 DNA sequences, 220 mRNA sequences, and 99 amino acid sequences of β-AS registered in NCBI by Oct, 2016, andanalyzed conserved domains and the evolutionary relationships between different species with DNAMAN and MEGA 5.0. In order to get the latest and comprehensive information of β-AS, more than 300 papers were searched and 80 of them were reviewed. Pub Med, Web of Science, Science Direct, and Research Gate, were information sources through the search terms of “β-amyrin synthase”, “biosynthesis”, “oxidosqualene cyclases” and their combinations, mainly from year 2010 to 2016. Studies were selected from Science Citation Index journals. All of the references linked to the registered DNA and mRNA sequences in NCBI database were also reviewed. The full-length of β-AS DNA sequence ranges from 3900 bp to 8800 bp, and β-AS mRNA sequence ranges from 2100 bp to 2900 bp. The bioinformatic analysis and a lot of papers show that Gln-Trp (QW) motifs, Asp-Cys-Thr-Ala-Glu (DCTAE) motif, and Met-Trp-Cys-Tyr-Cys-Arg (MWCYCR) motif, are mainly responsible for its catalytic function. So far, the function of β-AS has been verified in 30 species. This paper will lay a foundation for further studies of β-AS and other oxidosqualene cyclases for triterpene skeleton formation in higher plants.

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