THE ENZYMATIC DEGRADATION OF TERPENES.
MAX-PLANCK-INSTITUT FUER ZELLCHEMIE MUNICH (WEST GERMANY)
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The bacterial degradation of terpenes like citronellol, geraniol and farnesol is initiated by the oxidation of the primary alcohol group to the carboxyl group. Subsequent degradation of the acid formed occurs at the level of CoA-activated intermediates CO2 is bound at the branched methyl group of a beta-methyl-alpha, beta-unsaturated acyl CoA. Hydroxylation of the double band and elimination of the branched methyl group as free acetic acid leads to a beta-ketoacyl-CoA-derivative which is further degraded according to the principles of beta-oxidation. Final proof for this mechanism is presented through purification of the enzymes involved in the last two steps. The formation of a beta-ketoacyl-CoA derivative 7-methyl-3-oxo-octenoyl CoA from geranyl CoA by use of the isotope technique is demonstrated. The implication of this reaction sequence as a main pathway for the degradation of beta-methyl branched carbon chains is discussed. Author