Pathways to defense metabolites and evading fruit bitterness in genus Solanum evolved through 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases

Pablo D. Cárdenas, Prashant D. Sonawane*, Uwe Heinig, Adam Jozwiak, Sayantan Panda, Bekele Abebie, Yana Kazachkova, Margarita Pliner, Tamar Unger, Dalia Wolf, Itai Ofner, Ester Vilaprinyo, Sagit Meir, Olga Davydov, Amit Gal-on, Saul Burdman, Ashok Giri, Dani Zamir, Tali Scherf, Jedrzej SzymanskiIlana Rogachev, Asaph Aharoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The genus Solanum comprises three food crops (potato, tomato, and eggplant), which are consumed on daily basis worldwide and also producers of notorious anti-nutritional steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs). Hydroxylated SGAs (i.e. leptinines) serve as precursors for leptines that act as defenses against Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say), an important pest of potato worldwide. However, SGA hydroxylating enzymes remain unknown. Here, we discover that 2-OXOGLUTARATE-DEPENDENT-DIOXYGENASE (2-ODD) enzymes catalyze SGA-hydroxylation across various Solanum species. In contrast to cultivated potato, Solanum chacoense, a widespread wild potato species, has evolved a 2-ODD enzyme leading to the formation of leptinines. Furthermore, we find a related 2-ODD in tomato that catalyzes the hydroxylation of the bitter α-tomatine to hydroxytomatine, the first committed step in the chemical shift towards downstream ripening-associated non-bitter SGAs (e.g. esculeoside A). This 2-ODD enzyme prevents bitterness in ripe tomato fruit consumed today which otherwise would remain unpleasant in taste and more toxic.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5169
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.A. is the incumbent of the Peter J. Cohn Professorial Chair. We thank the Adelis Foundation, Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Jeanne and Joseph Nissim Foundation for Life Sciences, Tom and Sondra Rykoff Family Foundation Research, and the Raymond Burton Plant Genome Research Fund for supporting the A.A. laboratory activity. The work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF Grant No. 1805/15) and European Research Council (ERC; SAMIT-FP7) personal grants to A.A. The research in the A.A. laboratory was supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007–2013 under grant agreement no. 613692–TriForC. P.D.C. thanks Becas Chile Program (CONICYT, Chile) for PhD financial support. D.Z. was funded by the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Program grant # 677379 (G2P-SOL).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


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