Bücher und Buchkapitel
Tissier, A.; Ziegler, J.; Vogt, T. Specialized Plant Metabolites: Diversity and Biosynthesis (Krauss, G.-J. & Nies, D. H., eds.). 14-37, (2015) ISBN: 978-3-527-31650-2 DOI: 10.1002/9783527686063.ch2
Plant secondary metabolites, also termed
specialized plant metabolites, currently comprise more than 200 000
natural products that are all based on a few biosynthetic pathways and
key primary metabolites. Some pathways like flavonoid and terpenoid
biosynthesis are universally distributed in the plant kingdom, whereas
others like alkaloid or cyanogenic glycoside biosynthesis are restricted
to a limited set of taxa. Diversification is achieved by an array of
mechanisms at the genetic and enzymatic level including gene
duplications, substrate promiscuity of enzymes, cell‐specific regulatory
systems, together with modularity and combinatorial aspects.
Specialized metabolites reflect adaptations to a specific environment.
The observed diversity illustrates the heterogeneity and multitude of
ecological habitats and niches that plants have colonized so far and
constitutes a reservoir of potential new metabolites that may provide
adaptive advantage in the face of environmental changes. The code that
connects the observed chemical diversity to this ecological diversity is
largely unknown. One way to apprehend this diversity is to realize its
tremendous plasticity and evolutionary potential. This chapter presents
an overview of the most widespread and popular secondary metabolites,
which provide a definite advantage to adapt to or to colonize a
particular environment, making the boundary between the “primary” and
the “secondary” old fashioned and blurry.