Michael A Phillips

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Carotenoids are isoprenoid pigments that function as photoprotectors, precursors of the hormone abscisic acid (ABA), colorants and nutraceuticals. A major problem for the metabolic engineering of high carotenoid levels in plants is the limited supply of their isoprenoid precursor geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP), formed by condensation of isopentenyl(More)
Grand fir (Abies grandis) is a useful model system for studying the biochemistry, molecular genetics, and regulation of defensive oleoresin formation in conifers, a process involving both the constitutive accumulation of resin (pitch) in specialized secretory structures and the induced biosynthesis of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes (turpentine) and(More)
In plants, the plastid-localized 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway provides the precursors for the synthesis of isoprenoid hormones, monoterpenes, carotenoids and the side chain of chlorophylls, tocopherols and prenylquinones. As a result of the fast progress in the elucidation and characterization of the pathway (mainly by genetic(More)
To form the building blocks of isoprenoids, isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) isomerase activity, which converts IPP to dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), appears to be necessary in cytosol, plastids, and mitochondria. Arabidopsis thaliana contains only two IPP isomerases (Isopentenyl Diphosphate Isomerase1 [IDI1] and IDI2). Both encode proteins with N-terminal(More)
Paclitaxel (Taxol) is a widely used anticancer isoprenoid produced by the secondary metabolism of yew (Taxus sp.) trees. However, only limited amounts of Taxol or related metabolites (taxoids) can be obtained from the currently available sources. In this work we have taken the first step toward genetically engineering the biosynthesis of taxoids in(More)
Plants synthesize an astonishing diversity of isoprenoids, some of which play essential roles in photosynthesis, respiration, and the regulation of growth and development. Two independent pathways for the biosynthesis of isoprenoid precursors coexist within the plant cell: the cytosolic mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway and the plastidial methylerythritol(More)
The complex mixture of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes that comprises oleoresin provides the primary defense of conifers against bark beetles and their associated fungal pathogens. Monoterpene synthases produce the turpentine fraction of oleoresin, which allows mobilization of the diterpene resin acid component (rosin) and is also toxic toward(More)
The turpentine fraction of conifer oleoresin is a complex mixture of monoterpene olefins and plays important roles in defense and in the mediation of chemical communication between conifer hosts and insect predators. The stereochemistry of the turpentine monoterpenes is critical in these interactions, influencing host recognition, toxicity, and potency of(More)
Conifers have evolved elaborate inducible, terpenoid-based defense mechanisms to deter attacks from bark beetles and other herbivore species. Herbivore damage triggers the production of oleoresin containing monoterpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene components that serve as toxins and physical barriers to herbivore invasion. Induced terpene formation appears(More)
Conifers produce terpenoid-based oleoresins as constitutive and inducible defenses against herbivores and pathogens. Much information is available about the genes and enzymes of the late steps of oleoresin terpenoid biosynthesis in conifers, but almost nothing is known about the early steps which proceed via the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway.(More)