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Science 335 (6074): 1348-1351

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Path from β-Carotene to Carlactone, a Strigolactone-Like Plant Hormone

Adrian Alder,1 Muhammad Jamil,2 Mattia Marzorati,3 Mark Bruno,1 Martina Vermathen,3 Peter Bigler,3 Sandro Ghisla,4 Harro Bouwmeester,2,5 Peter Beyer,1,6 Salim Al-Babili1,6,*

Abstract: Strigolactones, phytohormones with diverse signaling activities, have a common structure consisting of two lactones connected by an enol-ether bridge. Strigolactones derive from carotenoids via a pathway involving the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 7 and 8 (CCD7 and CCD8) and the iron-binding protein D27. We show that D27 is a β-carotene isomerase that converts all-trans-β-carotene into 9-cis-β-carotene, which is cleaved by CCD7 into a 9-cis–configured aldehyde. CCD8 incorporates three oxygens into 9-cis-β-apo-10'-carotenal and performs molecular rearrangement, linking carotenoids with strigolactones and producing carlactone, a compound with strigolactone-like biological activities. Knowledge of the structure of carlactone will be crucial for understanding the biology of strigolactones and may have applications in combating parasitic weeds.

1 Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
2 Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University, 6700 AR Wageningen, Netherlands.
3 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
4 Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.
5 Centre for Biosystems Genomics, 6700 AR Wageningen, Netherlands.
6 Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (Bioss), 79104 Freiburg, Germany.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: salim.albabili{at}

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