Genetics and molecular biology of carotenoid pigment biosynthesis

  title={Genetics and molecular biology of carotenoid pigment biosynthesis},
  author={Gregory A. Armstrong and J. E. Hearst},
  journal={The FASEB Journal},
  pages={228 - 237}
The crucial roles of carotenoids and their metabolites in photooxidative protection and photosynthesis, not to mention nutrition, vision, and cellular differentiation, make them an important and complex class of biological pigments. Significant advances within the last few years have enhanced our understanding of the genetics and molecular biology of carotenoid biosynthesis in bacteria, fungi, algae, and plants. All of the genes involved in carotenoid biosynthesis from Rhodobacter capsulatus… 

Pigment Biosynthesis: Chlorophylls, Heme, and Carotenoids

This chapter presents an overview of the recent developments in tetrapyrrole and carotenoid biosynthesis, drawing upon work carried out in a wide range of organisms in order to better illustrate certain features of the biosynthetic process in question or to highlight particularly important differences among species.

Biological roles of fungal carotenoids

F fungi have adapted their ability to produce carotenoids for different non-essential functions, related with stress tolerance or with the synthesis of physiologically active by-products.

An update on carotenoid biosynthesis in algae: phylogenetic evidence for the existence of two classes of phytoene synthase

The discovery of two classes of PSY gene families in some algae suggests that carotenoid biosynthesis in these algae is differentially regulated in response to development and environmental stress as well.

Biosynthesis of Carotenoids in the Chloroplasts of Algae and Higher Plants

  • V. Ladygin
  • Chemistry
    Russian Journal of Plant Physiology
  • 2004
Physiological, biochemical, and genetic aspects of carotenoid biosynthesis in the chloroplast membranes of green algae and higher plants are discussed starting from the earliest stages of

Genetics of eubacterial carotenoid biosynthesis: a colorful tale.

  • G. Armstrong
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Annual review of microbiology
  • 1997
This work has shown that within the last decade, major advances have been made in the elucidation of the molecular genetics, the biochemistry, and the regulation of eubacterial carotenoid biosynthesis, which have important implications for eukaryotes and they make increasingly attractive the genetic manipulation of carOTenoid content for biotechnological purposes.

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in the landscape of pigments.

This review focuses on the biosynthesis of pigments in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and their physiological and regulatory functions in the context of information gathered from

Metabolic engineering for the microbial production of carotenoids and related products with a focus on the rare C50 carotenoids

Common strategies for optimizing lycopene production are summarized and a review on the characteristics, biosynthesis, glycosylation, and overproduction of C50 carotenoids is focused on.

Molecular Evolution of Lycopene Cyclases Involved in the Formation of Carotenoids in Eukaryotic Algae

It is proposed that the CCS evolved from a duplicated LCYB, which suggests that carotenoid biosynthesis is differentially regulated in response to development and environmental stress in these algae, like members of LCY families are differentiallyregulated during development or stress in some higher plants.


This review focuses on recent findings as to the structure and function of genes encoding nearly all of the enzymes required for the biosynthesis of these indispensable pigments and the enzymes they encode.



Conserved enzymes mediate the early reactions of carotenoid biosynthesis in nonphotosynthetic and photosynthetic prokaryotes.

The nucleotide sequence of three genes from the carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster of Erwinia herbicola are reported, which encode homologs of the CrtB, CrtE, and CrtI proteins of Rhodobacter capsulatus, a purple nonsulfur photosynthetic bacterium, suggesting the evolutionary conservation of early enzymes from this pathway.

Regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis.

Eubacteria show their true colors: genetics of carotenoid pigment biosynthesis from microbes to plants

The functional compatibility of enzymes from different organisms will form a central theme in the genetic engineering of carotenoid pigment biosynthetic pathways and create exciting possibilities for the directed manipulation of carOTenoid levels and content.

Elucidation of the Erwinia uredovora carotenoid biosynthetic pathway by functional analysis of gene products expressed in Escherichia coli

The most important function of carotenoid pigments, especially beta-carotene in higher plants, is to protect organisms against photooxidative damage, and this work has elucidated for the first time the pathway for biosynthesis of theseCarotenoids at the level of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, using bacterial carOTenoid biosynthesis genes.

Molecular cloning and expression in photosynthetic bacteria of a soybean cDNA coding for phytoene desaturase, an enzyme of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway.

It is concluded that pds1 is a nuclear gene encoding a phytoene desaturase enzyme that, as its microbial counterparts, contains sequence motifs characteristic of flavoproteins.

Carotenoid desaturases from Rhodobacter capsulatus and Neurospora crassa are structurally and functionally conserved and contain domains homologous to flavoprotein disulfide oxidoreductases.

The results indicate that both structure and function of carotenoid desaturases have been conserved during evolution and suggest that these enzymes are evolutionarily related to disulfide oxidoreductases.

Isolation, sequence, and characterization of the Cercospora nicotianae phytoene dehydrogenase gene

The cloned and sequenced Cercospora nicotianae gene for the carotenoid biosynthetic enzyme phytoene dehydrogenase revealed it has greater than 50% identity with its counterpart in Neurospora crassa and is related, but more distantly, tophytoenes dehydrogenases from plants and cyanobacteria.

A single polypeptide catalyzing the conversion of phytoene to zeta-carotene is transcriptionally regulated during tomato fruit ripening.

The cDNA of the gene pds from tomato, encoding the carotenoid biosynthesis enzyme phytoene desaturase, was cloned, and its nucleotide sequence was determined, suggesting that one polypeptide, the product of the pds gene, can carry out phy toene desaturation in the carotinoid biosynthetic pathway.