Plants make a diverse array of chemicals in order to mediate the many interactions they have with their environment. To increase the diversity of these compounds, core structures are modified by certain families of enzymes. One of the most important modifications is the formation of esters, catalyzed by acyltransferases. We have used modern techniques to characterize the genes, enzymes, and products of a family of plant acyltransferases known as the BAHD family. The sequenced genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana
presents the opportunity to study a number of BAHD members.