Charting Angiosperm Chemistry: Evolutionary Perspective on Specialized Metabolites Reflected in Chemical Property Space

2019-03-26T19:08:18Z (GMT) by Astrid Henz Ryen Anders Backlund
Plants possess an outstanding chemical diversity of specialized metabolites developed to adapt to environmental niches and increase fitness. The observed diversity is hypothesized to result from various evolutionary mechanisms, such as the continuous branching off and extension of existing biosynthetic pathways or enhanced levels of catalytic promiscuity in certain enzymes. In this study, ChemGPS-NP has been employed to chart the distribution and diversity of physicochemical properties for selected types of specialized metabolites from the angiosperms. Utilizing these charts, it is analyzed how different properties of various types of specialized metabolites change in different plant groups, and the chemical diversity from the volume they occupy in chemical property space is evaluated. In this context, possible underlying evolutionary mechanisms are discussed, which could explain the observed distribution and behavior in chemical property space. Based on these studies, it is demonstrated that evolutionary processes in plant specialized metabolism and the resultant metabolic diversification are reflected in chemical property space.