Plants produce structurally and functionally diverse natural products. Some of these compounds
possess promising health-benefiting properties, such as resveratrol (antioxidant) curcumin
(anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and anticancer), paclitaxel (anticancer) and artemisinin (antimalarial).
These compounds are produced through particular biosynthetic pathways in the plants. While supply
of these medicinally important molecules relies on extraction from the producing species, recent years
have seen significant advances in metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the production of plant
natural products. Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are the two most widely used heterologous
hosts for expression of enzymes and reconstitution of plant natural product biosynthetic pathways. Total biosynthesis
of many plant polyketide natural products such as curcumin and piceatannol in microorganisms has been
achieved. While the late biosynthetic steps of more complex molecules such as paclitaxel and artemisinin remain to be
understood, reconstitution of their partial biosynthetic pathways and microbial production of key intermediates have been
successful. This review covers recent advances in understanding and engineering the biosynthesis of plant polyketides and
terpenoids in microbial hosts.
Keywords: Plant natural products, Polyketides, Terpenoids, Biosynthesis, Heterologous expression, Microorganisms, Metabolic
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport