Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Monoterpenes in the glandular trichomes of tomato are synthesized from a neryl diphosphate precursor rather than geranyl diphosphate.

PMID 19487664


We identified a cis-prenyltransferase gene, neryl diphosphate synthase 1 (NDPS1), that is expressed in cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivar M82 type VI glandular trichomes and encodes an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of neryl diphosphate from isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. mRNA for a terpene synthase gene, phellandrene synthase 1 (PHS1), was also identified in these glands. It encodes an enzyme that uses neryl diphosphate to produce beta-phellandrene as the major product as well as a variety of other monoterpenes. The profile of monoterpenes produced by PHS1 is identical with the monoterpenes found in type VI glands. PHS1 and NDPS1 map to chromosome 8, and the presence of a segment of chromosome 8 derived from Solanum pennellii LA0716 causes conversion from the M82 gland monoterpene pattern to that characteristic of LA0716 plants. The data indicate that, contrary to the textbook view of geranyl diphosphate as the "universal" substrate of monoterpene synthases, in tomato glands neryl diphosphate serves as a precursor for the synthesis of monoterpenes.