What is it about?

Plants make a variety of chemicals to protect themselves from microbes. We analyzed the three dimensional shapes of proteins involved in converting benzoic acid derived compounds into chemicals that apples and other plants use to protect themselves from bacteria and fungi.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that the active sites of plant polyketide synthases involved in converting benzoic acid derived chemicals into antimicrobial metabolites have an unusual shape. Additionally, these plant polyketide synthases have amino acids in their active sites that interact favorably with benzoyl-CoA. The unique features of these benzoic acid-specific plant polyketide synthases help us further our understanding of the interplay between structure and function in plant polyketide synthases.


I hope this article furthers our understanding of how subtle changes in protein structure contribute to metabolic diversity and evolution. Furtthermore, I hope that some of the data and conclusions presented in this paper will be useful for plant breeding and metabolic engineering efforts. Lastly, it was a joy to work with my co-authors who represent different fields of study and come from different countries.

Charles Stewart
Iowa State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Molecular architectures of benzoic acid-specific type III polyketide synthases, Acta Crystallographica Section D Structural Biology, November 2017, International Union of Crystallography,
DOI: 10.1107/s2059798317016618.
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