A terpene synthase-cytochrome P450 cluster in Dictyostelium discoideum produces a novel trisnorsesquiterpene
Chen, X., K. Luck, P. Rabe, C. Q. Dinhd, G. Shaulsky, D. R. Nelson, J. Gershenzon, J. S. Dickschat, T. G. Köllner, and F. Chen.  2019.  elife, 8:e44352.

Terpenoids are enormously diverse, but our knowledge of their biosynthesis and functions is limited. Here we report on a terpene synthase (DdTPS8)-cytochrome P450 (CYP521A1) gene cluster that produces a novel C12 trisnorsesquiterpene and affects the development of Dictyostelium discoideum. DdTPS8 catalyzes the formation of a sesquiterpene discoidol, which is undetectable from the volatile bouquet of wild type D. discoideum. Interestingly, a DdTPS8 knockout mutant lacks not only discoidol, but also a putative trisnorsesquiterpene. This compound was hypothesized to be derived from discoidol via cytochrome P450 (CYP)-catalyzed oxidative cleavage. CYP521A1, which is clustered with DdTPS8, was identified as a top candidate. Biochemical assays demonstrated that CYP521A1 catalyzes the conversion of discoidol to a novel trisnorsesquiterpene named discodiene. The DdTPS8 knockout mutant exhibited slow progression in development. This study points to the untapped diversity of natural products made by D. discoideum, which may have diverse roles in its development and chemical ecology.