New Insights into the shikimate and aromatic amino acids biosynthesis pathways in plants

Vered Tzin, Gad Galili

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

486 Scopus citations


The aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan in plants are not only essential components of protein synthesis, but also serve as precursors for a wide range of secondary metabolites that are important for plant growth as well as for human nutrition and health. The aromatic amino acids are synthesized via the shikimate pathway followed by the branched aromatic amino acids biosynthesis pathway, with chorismate serving as a major intermediate branch point metabolite. Yet, the regulation and coordination of synthesis of these amino acids are still far from being understood. Recent studies on these pathways identified a number of alternative cross-regulated biosynthesis routes with unique evolutionary origins. Although the major route of Phe and Tyr biosynthesis in plants occurs via the intermediate metabolite arogenate, recent studies suggest that plants can also synthesize phenylalanine via the intermediate metabolite phenylpyruvate (PPY), similarly to many microorganisms. Recent studies also identified a number of transcription factors regulating the expression of genes encoding enzymes of the shikimate and aromatic amino acids pathways as well as of multiple secondary metabolites derived from them in Arabidopsis and in other plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)956-972
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon metabolism
  • metabolic regulation
  • metabolomics
  • primary metabolism
  • secondary metabolism - phenylpropanoids and phenolics
  • volatiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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