Isoprenoids: Remarkable diversity of form and function

Sarah A. Holstein, Raymond J. Hohl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


The isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway is the source of a wide array of products. The pathway has been highly conserved throughout evolution, and isoprenoids are some of the most ancient biomolecules ever identified, playing key roles in many life forms. In this review we focus on C-10 mono-, C-15 sesqui-, and C-20 diterpenes. Evidence for interconversion between the pathway intermediates farnesyl pyrophosphate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate and their respective metabolites is examined. The diverse functions of these molecules are discussed in detail, including their ability to regulate expression of the β-HMG-CoA reductase and Ras-related proteins. Additional topics include the mechanisms underlying the apoptotic effects of select isoprenoids, antiulcer activities, and the disposition and degradation of isoprenoids in the environment. Finally, the significance of pharmacological manipulation of the isoprenoid pathway and clinical correlations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-309
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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