Discovery of a P450-catalyzed step in vindoline biosynthesis: a link between the aspidosperma and eburnamine alkaloids.

Here we report the discovery of a cytochrome P450 that is required for the biosynthesis of vindoline, a plant-derived natural product used for semi-synthesis of several anti-cancer drugs. This enzyme catalyzes the formation of an epoxide that can undergo rearrangement to yield the vincamine-eburnamine backbone, thereby providing evidence for the long-standing hypothesis that the aspidosperma- and eburnamine-type alkaloids are biosynthetically related.