Biochemistry and molecular biology of the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway in plants

Joseph Chappell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

455 Scopus citations


This review first summarizes the diverse nature of isoprenoids found in plants, emphasizing the wide range of physiological functions these compounds serve. The biosynthetic origins of isoprenoids have occupied chemists and biochemists for decades, and the second section of this review recaps some of the conceptual models used to rationalize key biosynthetic reactions in the isoprenoid pathway. The third section describes briefly some of the recently developed experimental systems that have helped researchers uncover much of the biochemistry and molecular biology of isoprenoids. The fourth section compares the deduced amino acid sequences of enzymes with similar catalytic functions and attempts to correlate these sequences with the known enzymology. The fifth and final section focuses on our limited understanding of how isoprenoid biosynthesis is regulated in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-547
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995


  • Gene comparisons
  • Metabolic channels
  • Prenyltransferases
  • Terpene synthases and cyclases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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