Chemical identification of 18-hydroxycarlactonoic acid as an LjMAX1 product and in planta conversion of its methyl ester to canonical and non-canonical strigolactones in Lotus japonicus

Narumi Mori, Aika Sado, Xiaonan Xie, Kaori Yoneyama, Kei Asami, Yoshiya Seto, Takahito Nomura, Shinjiro Yamaguchi, Koichi Yoneyama, Kohki Akiyama

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Strigolactones (SLs) are a group of plant apocarotenoids that act as rhizosphere signaling molecules for both arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and root parasitic plants. They also regulate plant architecture as phytohormones. The model legume Lotus japonicus (synonym of Lotus corniculatus) produces canonical 5-deoxystrigol (5DS) and non-canonical lotuslactone (LL). The biosynthesis pathways of the two SLs remain elusive. In this study, we characterized the L. japonicus MAX1 homolog, LjMAX1, found in the Lotus japonicus genome assembly build 2.5. The L. japonicus max1 LORE1 insertion mutant was deficient in 5DS and LL production. A recombinant LjMAX1 protein expressed in yeast microsomes converted carlactone (CL) to 18-hydroxycarlactonoic acid (18-OH-CLA) via carlactonoic acid (CLA). Identity of 18-OH-CLA was confirmed by comparison of the methyl ester derivative of the MAX1 product with chemically synthesized methyl 18-hydroycarlactonoate (18-OH-MeCLA) using LC-MS/MS. (11R)-CL was detected as an endogenous compound in the root of L. japonicus. 13C-labeled CL, CLA, and 18-OH-MeCLA were converted to [13C]-5DS and LL in plant feeding experiments using L. japonicus WT. These results showed that LjMAX1 is the crucial enzyme in the biosynthesis of Lotus SLs and that 18-hydroxylated carlactonoates are possible precursors for SL biosynthesis in L. japonicus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112349
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020



  • 18-Hydroxylcarlactonoic acid
  • 5-Deoxystrigol
  • Biosynthesis
  • Cytochrome P450 (CYP)
  • Leguminosae
  • Lotus japonicus
  • Lotus japonicus MORE AXILLARY GROWTH 1 (MAX1)
  • Lotuslactone
  • Strigolactone

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