Molecule of the Month
May 2012
Carlactone, a Strigolactone-Like Plant Hormone

Carlactone is a strigolactone-like compound which shows biological actions similar to those of strigolactones, phytohormones with diverse signaling activities.
Discovery of Carlactone has unraveled an important step in the biosynthesis of the strigolactones, in particular of the butenolide moiety (the so-called D ring). The structure of Carlactone, which is simpler than that of strigolactones, could open up new possibilities for synthesizing compounds that could be deployed as hormones or for combating parasitic weeds.

Carlactone has been isolated by the group of Prof. Salim Al-Babili at the University of Freiburg, and its structure has been elucidated by the NMR group of the University of Bern, under the guidance of Prof. Peter Bigler.


  • A. Alder, M. Jamil, M. Marzorati, M. Bruno, M. Vermathen, P. Bigler, S. Ghisla, H. Bouwmeester, P. Beyer, S. Al-Babili;
    "The Path from b-Carotene to Carlactone, a Strigolactone-Like Plant Hormone"
    Science, 335, 1348-1351, (2012); doi:10.1126/science.1218094.