Researchers identify last remaining steps in the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids from Coca

Tropane alkaloids (TAs) are heterocyclic nitrogenous metabolites found across seven orders of angiosperms, including Malpighiales (Erythroxylaceae) and Solanales (Solanaceae). Despite the well-established euphorigenic properties of Erythroxylaceae TAs like cocaine, their biosynthetic pathway remains incomplete. Using yeast as a screening platform, an international research team identified and characterized the missing steps of TA biosynthesis in Erythroxylum coca.