Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vol.165, No.1, 47-68, 2011
Sterol Glycosyltransferases-The Enzymes That Modify Sterols
Sterols are important components of cell membranes, hormones, signalling molecules and defense-related biotic and abiotic chemicals. Sterol glycosyltransferases (SGTs) are enzymes involved in sterol modifications and play an important role in metabolic plasticity during adaptive responses. The enzymes are classified as a subset of family 1 glycosyltransferases due to the presence of a signature motif in their primary sequence. These enzymes follow a compulsory order sequential mechanism forming a ternary complex. The diverse applications of sterol glycosides, like cytotoxic and apoptotic activity, anticancer activity, medicinal values, anti-stress roles and anti-insect and antibacterial properties, draws attention towards their synthesis mechanisms. Many secondary metabolites are derived from sterol pathways, which are important in defense mechanisms against pathogens. SGTs in plants are involved in changed sensitivity to stress hormones and their agrochemical analogs and changed tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. SGTs that glycosylate steroidal hormones, such as brassinosteroids, function as growth and development regulators in plants. In terms of metabolic roles, it can be said that SGTs occupy important position in plant metabolism and may offer future tools for crop improvement.