Karel Miettinen

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The (seco)iridoids and their derivatives, the monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIAs), form two large families of plant-derived bioactive compounds with a wide spectrum of high-value pharmacological and insect-repellent activities. Vinblastine and vincristine, MIAs used as anticancer drugs, are produced by Catharanthus roseus in extremely low levels, leading(More)
Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus [L.] G. Don, Apocynaceae) produces monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs), secondary metabolites of high interest due to their therapeutic value. A key step in the biosynthesis is the generation of geraniol from geranyl diphosphate (GPP) in the monoterpenoid branch of the MIA pathway. Here we report on the cloning and(More)
Two geraniol synthases (GES), from Valeriana officinalis (VoGES) and Lippia dulcis (LdGES), were isolated and were shown to have geraniol biosynthetic activity with Km values of 32 µM and 51 µM for GPP, respectively, upon expression in Escherichia coli. The in planta enzymatic activity and sub-cellular localization of VoGES and LdGES were characterized in(More)
Plants make specialized bioactive metabolites to defend themselves against attackers. The conserved control mechanisms are based on transcriptional activation of the respective plant species-specific biosynthetic pathways by the phytohormone jasmonate. Knowledge of the transcription factors involved, particularly in terpenoid biosynthesis, remains(More)
Catharanthus roseus, the Madagascar periwinkle, synthesizes bioactive monoterpenoid indole alkaloids, including the anti-cancer drugs vinblastine and vincristine. The monoterpenoid branch of the alkaloid pathway leads to the secoiridoid secologanin and involves the enzyme iridoid synthase (IS), a member of the progesterone 5β-reductase (P5βR) family. IS(More)
Monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIAs) are produced as plant defence compounds. In the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus, they comprise the anticancer compounds vinblastine and vincristine. The iridoid (monoterpenoid) pathway forms one of the two branches that feed MIA biosynthesis and its activation is regulated by the transcription factor (TF) basic(More)
Triterpenoids are widespread bioactive plant defence compounds with potential use as pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other high-value products. Enzymes belonging to the cytochrome P450 family have an essential role in creating the immense structural diversity of triterpenoids across the plant kingdom. However, for many triterpenoid oxidation reactions, the(More)
Saponins are a structurally diverse family of triterpenes that are widely found as main constituents in many traditional plant-based medicines and often have bioactivities of industrial interest. The heterologous production of triterpene saponins in microbes remains challenging and only limited successful pathway engineering endeavors have been reported. To(More)
Plants are an excellent source of drug leads. However availability is limited by access to source species, low abundance and recalcitrance to chemical synthesis. Although plant genomics is yielding a wealth of genes for natural product biosynthesis, the translation of this genetic information into small molecules for evaluation as drug leads represents a(More)
Triterpenes constitute a large and important class of plant natural products with diverse structures and functions. Their biological roles range from membrane structural components over plant hormones to specialized plant defence compounds. Furthermore, triterpenes have great potential for a variety of commercial applications such as vaccine adjuvants,(More)
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