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A plant thiolase involved in benzoic acid biosynthesis and volatile benzenoid production

  • Alex Van Moerkercke
  • Ines Schauvinhold
  • Eran Pichersky
  • Michel A Haring
  • Robert C Schuurink
Publishing year: 2009-10
Language: English
Pages: 292-302
Publication/Series: Plant Journal
Volume: 60
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The exact biosynthetic pathways leading to benzoic acid (BA) formation in plants are not known, but labeling experiments indicate the contribution of both beta-oxidative and non-beta-oxidative pathways. In Petunia hybrida BA is a key precursor for the production of volatile benzenoids by its flowers. Using functional genomics, we identified a 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, PhKAT1, which is involved in the benzenoid biosynthetic pathway and the production of BA. PhKAT1 is localised in the peroxisomes, where it is important for the formation of benzoyl-CoA-related compounds. Silencing of PhKAT1 resulted in a major reduction in BA and benzenoid formation, leaving the production of other phenylpropanoid-related volatiles unaffected. During the night, when volatile benzenoid production is highest, it is largely the beta-oxidative pathway that contributes to the formation of BA and benzenoids. Our studies add the benzenoid biosynthetic pathway to the list of pathways in which 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolases are involved in plants.


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Acetyl-CoA C-Acyltransferase
  • Benzoic Acid
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Flowers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Silencing
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Peroxisomes
  • Petunia
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA, Plant


  • ISSN: 1365-313X
Alex Van Moerkercke
E-mail: alex [dot] van_moerkercke [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Postdoctoral fellow

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 49 49


Sölvegatan 35, Lund


Research group

Plant Biology



Postdoc host

Olivier Van Aken