Genomics and biochemical analyses reveal a metabolon key to β-L-ODAP biosynthesis in Lathyrus sativus


Grass pea ( Lathyrus sativus L.) is a rich source of protein cultivated as an insurance crop in Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Its resilience to both drought and flooding makes it a promising crop for ensuring food security in a changing climate. The lack of genetic resources and the crop’s association with the disease neurolathyrism have limited the cultivation of grass pea. Here, we present an annotated, long read-based assembly of the 6.5 Gbp L. sativus genome. Using this genome sequence, we have elucidated the biosynthetic pathway leading to the formation of the neurotoxin, β-L-oxalyl-2,3-diaminopropionic acid (β-L-ODAP). The final reaction of the pathway depends on an interaction between L. sativus acyl-activating enzyme 3 (LsAAE3) and a BAHD-acyltransferase (LsBOS) that form a metabolon activated by CoA to produce β-L-ODAP. This provides valuable insight into the best approaches for developing varieties which produce substantially less toxin.


Edwards, Anne; Njaci, Isaac; Sarkar, Abhimanyu; Jiang, Zhouqian; Kaithakottil, Gemy George; Moore, Christopher; Cheema, Jitender; Stevenson, Clare E.M.; Rejzek, Martin; Novák, Petr; Vigouroux, Marielle; Vickers, Martin; Wouters, Roland H.M.; Paajanen, Pirita; Steuernagel, Burkhard; Moore, Jonathan D.; Higgins, Janet; Swarbreck, David; Martens, Stefan; Kim, Colin Y.; Weng, Jing-Ke; Mundree, Sagadevan; Kilian, Benjamin; Kumar, Shiv; Loose, Matt; Yant, Levi; Macas, Jiří; Wang, Trevor L.; Martin, Cathie; Emmrich, Peter M.F. 2023. Genomics and biochemical analyses reveal a metabolon key to β-L-ODAP biosynthesis in Lathyrus sativus. Nature Communications 14:


  • Edwards, Anne
  • Njaci, Isaac
  • Sarkar, Abhimanyu
  • Jiang, Zhouqian
  • Kaithakottil, Gemy George
  • Moore, Christopher
  • Cheema, Jitender
  • Stevenson, Clare E.M.
  • Rejzek, Martin
  • Novák, Petr
  • Vigouroux, Marielle
  • Vickers, Martin
  • Wouters, Roland H.M.
  • Paajanen, Pirita
  • Steuernagel, Burkhard
  • Moore, Jonathan D.
  • Higgins, Janet
  • Swarbreck, David
  • Martens, Stefan
  • Kim, Colin Y.
  • Weng, Jing-Ke
  • Mundree, Sagadevan
  • Kilian, Benjamin
  • Kumar, Shiv
  • Loose, Matt
  • Yant, Levi
  • Macas, Jiří
  • Wang, Trevor L.
  • Martin, Cathie
  • Emmrich, Peter M.F.