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    This work reviews recent advances in the pathways and key enzymes of steroidal saponins biosynthesis and sets the foundation for the biotechnological production of these useful compounds through transformation of microorganisms. Steroidal saponins, due to their specific chemical structures and active effects, have long been important natural products and that are irreplaceable in hormone production and other pharmaceutical industries. This article comprehensively reviewed the previous and current research progress and summarized the biosynthesis pathways and key biosynthetic enzymes of steroidal saponins that have been discovered in plants and microoganisms. On the basis of the general biosynthetic pathway in plants, it was found that the starting components, intermediates and catalysing enzymes were diverse between plants and microorganisms; however, the functions of their related enzymes tended to be similar. The biosynthesis pathways of steroidal saponins in microorganisms and marine organisms have not been revealed as clearly as those in plants and need further investigation. The elucidation of biosynthetic pathways and key enzymes is essential for understanding the synthetic mechanisms of these compounds and provides researchers with important information to further develop and implement the massive production of steroidal saponins by biotechnological approaches and methodologies. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


    Yiyang Chen, Junkai Wu, Dan Yu, Xiaowei Du. Advances in steroidal saponins biosynthesis. Planta. 2021 Oct 06;254(5):91

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    PMID: 34617240

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