Objective: There has been a massive increase in the number of reports about the medicinal benefits of the consumption of phenylpropanoids derived from the plastidic shikimate pathway. These benefits include anti-retroviral, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and insulin-sensitizing activities, the reduction of the risk of a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis as well as inhibition of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) oxidation. In addition, chorismate-derived salicylate which was originally isolated from plants, albeit now under chemical production, is massively used for pain relief in the form of acetylsalycilic acid, namely aspirin. Chorismate also acts as precursor in the biosynthesis of folate and phylloquinone, i.e., vitamins B9 and K1, respectively.Results: Cumulative evidence suggests that deficiencies of either of these vitamins in the diet can result in a wide range of diseases. In parallel to our enhanced comprehension of the dietary importance of shikimate-derived compounds, the advent of metabolomics and the development of next-generation sequencing technologies have dramatically accelerated advances in our understanding of the biosynthetic, decorative and degradation pathways underlying their metabolism. Furthermore, forward and reverse genetic approaches have begun to facilitate the metabolic engineering of plants for biofortification of these compounds. Conclusion: Here we review data about the bioactivities of these compounds and provide an overview of our current understanding of biosynthesis, molecular function and their in planta occurrence. Finally we discuss the future perspectives and the importance of further development of cross-disciplinary research efforts in this rapidly expanding research field.
Keywords: Flavonoids, medicinal benefits of phenylpropanoids, phenylalanine derived plant secondary metabolites, phenylpropanoids, phenolic, shikimate.