Chemical & Engineering News - Tropane alkaloids, a broad class of natural products from plants, have been used as medicines for more than a century. Tropinone, the simplest tropane alkaloid, is a key intermediate in the synthesis of many others. It was first chemically synthesized in 1901, but the enzymes plants use to make it have remained a mystery—one that has now been solved.
Cornelius S. Barry, A. Daniel Jones, and Matthew A. Bedewitz of Michigan State University and John C. D'Auria of Texas Tech University have now identified two genes in Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade) that code for enzymes that make tropinone (Nat. Commun. 2018, DOI: 10.1038/41467-018-07671-3).