Volume 93 Issue 26 | p. 6 | News of The Week
Issue Date: June 29, 2015 | Web Date: June 25, 2015

Key Enzyme Poppies Use To Synthesize Morphine Identified

Plant Biology: Fusion protein paves way to making opioids in microbes
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Environmental SCENE
Keywords: alkaloids, opioids, morphine, poppy

For years, researchers have been unable to identify an enzyme that the opium poppy Papaver somniferum uses to synthesize morphine. Without the enzyme, which sits in the middle of the plant’s biosynthetic pathway and converts the intermediate (S)-reticuline into (R)-reticuline, poppies can’t make morphine or related opioid compounds, known collectively as morphinans.

Now a team led by Ian A. Graham of the University of York, in England, has finally identified that . . .

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