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Genome-Wide Investigation of Oxidosqualene Cyclase Genes Deciphers the Genetic Basis of Triterpene Biosynthesis in Tea Plants

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posted on 2024-04-23, 18:05 authored by Zhenghua Du, Fuquan Gao, Shuyan Wang, Shuai Sun, Chanxin Chen, Xiaxia Wang, Ruimei Wu, Xiaomin Yu
Triterpenoids from Camellia species comprise a diverse class of bioactive compounds with great therapeutic potential. However, triterpene biosynthesis in tea plants (Camellia sinensis) remains elusive. Here, we identified eight putative 2,3-oxidosqualene cyclase (OSC) genes (CsOSC1–8) from the tea genome and characterized the functions of five through heterologous expression in yeast and tobacco and transient overexpression in tea plants. CsOSC1 was found to be a β-amyrin synthase, whereas CsOSC4, 5, and 6 exhibited multifunctional α-amyrin synthase activity. Molecular docking and site-directed mutagenesis showed that the CsOSC6M259T/W260L double mutant yielded >40% lupeol, while the CsOSC1 W259L single mutant alone was sufficient for lupeol production. The V732F mutation in CsOSC5 altered product formation from friedelin to taraxasterol and ψ-taraxasterol. The L254 M mutation in the cycloartenol synthase CsOSC8 enhanced the catalytic activity. Our findings shed light on the molecular basis governing triterpene diversity in tea plants and offer potential avenues for OSC engineering.

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