Characterization of Solanum melongena Thioesterases Related to Tomato Methylketone Synthase 2
2-Methylketones are involved in plant defense and fragrance and have industrial applications as flavor additives and for biofuel production. We isolated three genes from the crop plant Solanum melongena (eggplant) and investigated these as candidates for methylketone production. The wild tomato methylketone synthase 2 (ShMKS2), which hydrolyzes β-ketoacyl-acyl carrier proteins (ACP) to release β-ketoacids in the penultimate step of methylketone synthesis, was used as a query to identify three
... to identify three homologs from S. melongena: SmMKS2-1, SmMKS2-2, and SmMKS2-3. Expression and functional characterization of SmMKS2s in E. coli showed that SmMKS2-1 and SmMKS2-2 exhibited the thioesterase activity against different β-ketoacyl-ACP substrates to generate the corresponding saturated and unsaturated β-ketoacids, which can undergo decarboxylation to form their respective 2-methylketone products, whereas SmMKS2-3 showed no activity. SmMKS2-1 was expressed at high level in leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits, whereas expression of SmMKS2-2 and SmMKS2-3 was mainly in flowers and fruits, respectively. Expression of SmMKS2-1 was induced in leaves by mechanical wounding, and by methyl jasmonate or methyl salicylate, but SmMKS2-2 and SmMKS2-3 genes were not induced. SmMKS2-1 is a candidate for methylketone-based defense in eggplant, and both SmMKS2-1 and SmMKS2-2 are novel MKS2 enzymes for biosynthesis of methylketones as feedstocks to biofuel production.