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Purdue University plant molecular biochemist Natalia Dudareva and colleagues have described a complete second pathway used by plants to produce phenylalanine, a compound important for all living organisms.
Phenylalanine is a building block of proteins and the precursor to thousands of compounds. Plants use these compounds as aromatics to attract pollinators, for defense, reproduction, growth and development. Humans must get phenylalanine from plants, and they also use natural products derived from this compound in flavors, fragrances, biofuels, insecticides and pharmaceuticals.
Plants - Pathway - Phenylalanine - Production - Compound
It had long been accepted that plants employ one biological pathway to produce phenylalanine, but this did not explain all observed production of the compound. Dudareva, a Purdue distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and researcher in the Purdue Center for Plant Biology, recently discovered the final step in the alternative pathway. Now she, along with graduate student Yichun Qian and research scientist Joseph Lynch from her lab, and collaborators John Morgan and his student Longyun Guo from Purdue's Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, have identified remaining steps, completing the picture.
The key finding, reported in the journal Nature Communications, is that the entire process...
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