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    Furanocoumarins (FCs) are plant-specialized metabolites with potent allelochemical properties. The distribution of FCs is scattered with a chemotaxonomical tendency towards four distant families with highly similar FC pathways. The mechanism by which this pathway emerged and spread in plants has not been elucidated. Furanocoumarin biosynthesis was investigated in Ficus carica (fig, Moraceae), focusing on the first committed reaction catalysed by an umbelliferone dimethylallyltransferase (UDT). Comparative RNA-seq analysis among latexes of different fig organs led to the identification of a UDT. The phylogenetic relationship of this UDT to previously reported Apiaceae UDTs was evaluated. The expression pattern of F. carica prenyltransferase 1 (FcPT1) was related to the FC contents in different latexes. Enzymatic characterization demonstrated that one of the main functions of FcPT1 is UDT activity. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that FcPT1 and Apiaceae UDTs are derived from distinct ancestors, although they both belong to the UbiA superfamily. These findings are supported by significant differences in the related gene structures. This report describes the identification of FcPT1 involved in FC biosynthesis in fig and provides new insights into multiple origins of the FC pathway and, more broadly, into the adaptation of plants to their environments. © 2019 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2019 New Phytologist Trust.

    Citation

    Ryosuke Munakata, Sakihito Kitajima, Andréïna Nuttens, Kanade Tatsumi, Tomoya Takemura, Takuji Ichino, Gianni Galati, Sonia Vautrin, Hélène Bergès, Jérémy Grosjean, Frédéric Bourgaud, Akifumi Sugiyama, Alain Hehn, Kazufumi Yazaki. Convergent evolution of the UbiA prenyltransferase family underlies the independent acquisition of furanocoumarins in plants. The New phytologist. 2020 Mar;225(5):2166-2182

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    PMID: 31642055

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