Strigolactones, phytohormones with diverse signaling activities, have a common structure consisting of two lactones connected by an enol-ether bridge. Strigolactones derive from carotenoids via a pathway involving the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 7 and 8 (CCD7 and CCD8) and the iron-binding protein D27. We show that D27 is a β-carotene isomerase that converts all-trans-β-carotene into 9-cis-β-carotene, which is cleaved by CCD7 into a 9-cis - configured aldehyde. CCD8 incorporates three oxygens into 9-cis-β-apo-10′-carotenal and performs molecular rearrangement, linking carotenoids with strigolactones and producing carlactone, a compound with strigolactone-like biological activities. Knowledge of the structure of carlactone will be crucial for understanding the biology of strigolactones and may have applications in combating parasitic weeds.
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