PROSITE documentation PDOC00825
Terpene synthases signature


The following enzymes catalyze mechanistically related reactions which involve the highly complex cyclic rearrangement of squalene or its 2,3 oxide:

  • Lanosterol synthase (EC (oxidosqualene--lanosterol cyclase), which catalyzes the cyclization of (S)-2,3-epoxysqualene to lanosterol, the initial precursor of cholesterol, steroid hormones and vitamin D in vertebrates and of ergosterol in fungi (gene ERG7).
  • Cycloartenol synthase (EC (2,3-epoxysqualene--cycloartenol cyclase), a plant enzyme that catalyzes the cyclization of (S)-2,3- epoxysqualene to cycloartenol.
  • Hopene synthase (EC (squalene--hopene cyclase), a bacterial enzyme that catalyzes the cyclization of squalene into hopene, a key step in hopanoid (triterpenoid) metabolism.

These enzymes are evolutionary related [1] proteins of about 70 to 85 Kd. As a signature pattern, we selected a highly conserved region which is rich in aromatic residues and which is located in the C-terminal section.

Last update:

December 2004 / Pattern and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

TERPENE_SYNTHASES, PS01074; Terpene synthases signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsCorey E.J. Matsuda S.P.T. Bartel B.
TitleIsolation of an Arabidopsis thaliana gene encoding cycloartenol synthase by functional expression in a yeast mutant lacking lanosterol synthase by the use of a chromatographic screen.
SourceProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90:11628-11632(1993).
PubMed ID7505443

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