Biochemical, functional, and evolutionary aspects of flavonoid and benzoxazinoid O-methylation in grasses

O-methylation is an important mechanism contributing to the formation of the enormous structural and functional diversity of specialized metabolites in the plant kingdom. In the grasses (Poaceae) two important classes of induced defense metabolites are benzoxazinoids (BXs) and flavonoids. Their O-methyl derivatives often show higher specific activity against attacking organisms than their non-O-methylated precursors. Therefore, in my thesis, I identified and characterized O-methyltransferases (OMTs) from several grass species as key enzymes in the formation of O-methylated BXs and flavonoids and investigated their evolutionary relationships and possible role in plant defense.


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