A research team from Purdue University led by Natalia Dudareva has described a complete second pathway used by plants to produce phenylalanine, a compound important for all living organisms.
Scientists have long accepted that plants use one biological pathway to produce phenylalanine, but this did not explain all observed production of the compound. Dudareva’s team recently discovered the final step in the alternative pathway and have identified the remaining steps. The key finding, as reported in the journal Nature Communications, is that the entire process happens in the cytoplasm rather than cell organelles called plastids.
“It splits completely at a different point than predicted, and the whole pathway is localized in cytoplasm. This was unexpected,” Dudareva said. She added that the gene responsible for the committed step has been known for 20 years and was never, until now, considered to be involved in production of phenylalanine.
For more details, read the news article from Purdue University.
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