Why are some Glycyrrhiza species not sweet?

June 15, 2021

The molecular mechanism that determine productivity of glycyrrhizin, an active compound produced by Glycyrrhiza species

A research team led by Osaka University and RIKEN CSRS in collaboration with Tokiwa Phytochemical Co., Ltd and Universidad Regional Amazónica IKIAM etc. elucidated part of the molecular mechanism that determines productivity of glycyrrhizin, an active compound produced by Glycyrrhiza species belonging to the Leguminosae family including the original plant of the crude drug “licorice”.

In this study, the research team investigated the activity of an enzyme committed with glycyrrhizin production in Glycyrrhiza species with different glycyrrhizin productivities. They found that slight differences of the activity of this enzyme determine the productivity of glycyrrhizin. Activities of enzymes in Glycyrrhiza species could be applied to production of useful natural substances whose production mechanisms are unknown. This might lead to development of alternative production methods by synthetic biology.

 

Original article
Plant & Cell Physiology doi:10.1093/pcp/pcaa173
M. Z. Fanani, S. Sawai, H. Seki, M. Ishimori, K. Ohyama, E. O. Fukushima, H. Sudo, K. Saito, T. Muranaka,
"Allylic Hydroxylation Activity is a Source of Saponin Chemodiversity in the Genus Glycyrrhiza".

Contact
Kazuki Saito
Group Director
Metabolomics Research Group