Total biosynthesis of the cyclic AMP booster forskolin from Coleus forskohlii – University of Copenhagen

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07 April 2017

Total biosynthesis of the cyclic AMP booster forskolin from Coleus forskohlii

New plantsynbio paper

The entire biosynthetic pathway for the diterpenoid forskolin in Coleus forskohlii has been reconstituted in yeast

Pateraki, Andersen-Ranberg et al. set out to uncover how C. forskohlii produces forskoling. The experiments show that forskolin is produced within the cells that contain the oil bodies. A technique called RNA sequencing was used to identify a number of genes which are highly active in these cells and encode enzymes that could potentially be involved in producing forskolin. Further experiments demonstrated that these enzymes drive a cascade of chemical reactions that convert a molecule called 13R-manoyl oxide into forskolin. Next, Pateraki, Andersen-Ranberg et al. inserted the genes into yeast cells that could already produce 13R-manoyl oxide, which allowed the yeast to produce relatively high amounts of forskolin.

These findings show that it is possible to identify the genes involved in the production of medicinal compounds in a relatively short amount of time. This knowledge will aid the development of a method that can be used to produce forskolin and other similar compounds on a large scale without needing to harvest C. forskohlii plants.

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