Characterization of Two Novel Aldo-Keto Reductases from Arabidopsis: Expression Patterns, Broad Substrate Specificity, and an Open Active-Site Structure Suggest a Role in Toxicant Metabolism Following Stress

School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.
Journal of Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 4.33). 08/2009; 392(2):465-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.07.023
Source: PubMed


Aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) are widely distributed in nature and play numerous roles in the metabolism of steroids, sugars, and other carbonyls. They have also frequently been implicated in the metabolism of exogenous and endogenous toxicants, including those stimulated by stress. Although the Arabidopsis genome includes at least 21 genes with the AKR signature, very little is known of their functions. In this study, we have screened the Arabidopsis thaliana genomic sequence for genes with significant homology to members of the mammalian AKR1 family and identified four homologues for further study. Following alignment of the predicted protein sequences with representatives from the AKR superfamily, the proteins were ascribed not to the AKR1 family but to the AKR4C subfamily, with the individual designations of AKR4C8, AKR4C9, AKR4C10, and AKR4C11. Expression of two of the genes, AKR4C8 and AKR4C9, has been shown to be coordinately regulated and markedly induced by various forms of stress. The genes have been overexpressed in bacteria, and recombinant proteins have been purified and crystallized. Both enzymes display NADPH-dependent reduction of carbonyl compounds, typical of the superfamily, but will accept a very wide range of substrates, reducing a range of steroids, sugars, and aliphatic and aromatic aldehydes/ketones, although there are distinct differences between the two enzymes. We have obtained high-resolution crystal structures of AKR4C8 (1.4 A) and AKR4C9 (1.25 A) in ternary complexes with NADP(+) and acetate. Three extended loops, present in all AKRs and responsible for defining the cofactor- and substrate-binding sites, are shorter in the 4C subfamily compared to other AKRs. Consequently, the crystal structures reveal open and accommodative substrate-binding sites, which correlates with their broad substrate specificity. It is suggested that the primary role of these enzymes may be to detoxify a range of toxic aldehydes and ketones produced during stress, although the precise nature of the principal natural substrates remains to be determined.

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    • "Gene expression in the GLX system and AKR subfamilies is enhanced under abiotic stressors such as salinity, osmotic pressure and heat (Singla-Pareek et al. 2003). Activity of the AKR subfamily increases under drought conditions (Simpson et al. 2009). Furthermore, genetically modified plants that have higher AKR activity show tolerance against these stressful conditions (Sunkar et al. 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sugar-derived reactive carbonyls (RCs), including methylglyoxal (MG), are aggressive by-products of oxidative stress known to impair the functions of multiple proteins. These advanced glycation end-products accumulate in patients with diabetes mellitus and cause major complications, including arteriosclerosis and cardiac insufficiency. In the glycolytic pathway, the equilibration reactions between dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (GAP) have been recently shown to generate MG as a by-product. Because plants produce vast amounts of sugars and support the same reaction in the Calvin cycle, we hypothesized that MG also accumulates in chloroplasts. Incubating isolated chloroplasts with excess 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PGA) as the GAP precursor drove the equilibration reaction toward MG production. The rate of oxygen (O2) evolution was used as an index of 3-PGA-mediated photosynthesis. The 3-PGA- and time-dependent accumulation of MG in chloroplasts was confirmed by high-performance liquid chromatography. In addition, MG production increased with an increase in light intensity. We also observed a positive linear relationship between the rates of MG production and O2 evolution (R = 0.88; p < 0.0001). These data provide evidence that MG is produced by the Calvin cycle and that sugar-derived RC production is inevitable during photosynthesis. Furthermore, we found that MG production is enhanced under high-CO2 conditions in illuminated wheat leaves.
    Plant and Cell Physiology 01/2014; 55(2). DOI:10.1093/pcp/pcu007 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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    • "For expression, the plasmid transformed into E. coli BL21 (DE3) (Novagen). Recombinant proteins were expressed and purified using "His-bind" resin as described previously [43]. Purity of the extracted protein was assessed by SDS-PAGE stained with Coomassie Blue. "
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    ABSTRACT: Over recent years, enzymes of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) 1C subfamily have been implicated in the progression of prostate, breast, endometrial and leukemic cancers. This is due to the ability of AKR1C enzymes to modify androgens, estrogens, progesterone and prostaglandins (PGs) in a tissue-specific manner, regulating the activity of nuclear receptors and other downstream effects. Evidence supporting a role for AKR1C enzymes in cancer derives mostly from studies with isolated primary cells from patients or immortalized cell lines. Mice are ideal organisms for in vivo studies, using knock-out or over-expression strains. However, the functional conservation of AKR1C enzymes between human and mice has yet to be described. In this study, we have characterized and compared the four human (AKR1C1,-1C2, -1C3 and -1C4) and the eight murine (AKR1C6, -1C12, -1C13, -1C14, -1C18, -1C19, -1C20 and -1C21) isoforms in their phylogeny, substrate preference and tissue distribution. We have found divergent evolution between human and murine AKR1C enzymes that was reflected by differing substrate preference. Murine enzymes did not perform the 11beta-ketoreduction of prostaglandin (PG) D2, an activity specific to human AKR1C3 and important in promoting leukemic cell survival. Instead, murine AKR1C6 was able to perform the 9-ketoreduction of PGE2, an activity absent amongst human isoforms. Nevertheless, reduction of the key steroids androstenedione, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, progesterone and estrone was found in murine isoforms. However, unlike humans, no AKR1C isoforms were detected in murine prostate, testes, uterus and haemopoietic progenitors. This study exposes significant lack of phylogenetic and functional homology between human and murine AKR1C enzymes. Therefore, we conclude that mice are not suitable to model the role of AKR1C in human cancers and leukemia.
    Molecular Cancer 12/2009; 8(1):121. DOI:10.1186/1476-4598-8-121 · 4.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The accumulation of toxic compounds generated by the interaction between reactive oxygen species and polyunsaturated fatty acids of membrane lipids can significantly damage plant cells. A plethora of enzymes act on these reactive carbonyls, reducing their toxicity. Based on the chromosomal localization and on their homology with other stress-induced aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) we have selected three rice AKR genes. The transcription level of OsAKR1 was greatly induced by abscisic acid and various stress treatments; the other two AKR genes tested were moderately stress-inducible. The OsAKR1 recombinant protein exhibited a high nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-dependent catalytic activity to reduce toxic aldehydes including glycolysis-derived methylglyoxal (MG) and lipid peroxidation-originated malondialdehyde (MDA). The function of this enzyme in MG detoxification was demonstrated in vivo in E. coli and in transgenic plants overproducing the OsAKR1 protein. Heterologous synthesis of the OsAKR1 enzyme in transgenic tobacco plants resulted in increased tolerance against oxidative stress generated by methylviologen (MV) and improved resistance to high temperature. In these plants lower levels of MDA were detected both following MV and heat treatment due to the activity of the OsAKR1 enzyme. The transgenic tobaccos also exhibited higher AKR activity and accumulated less MG in their leaves than the wild type plants; both in the presence and absence of heat stress. These results support the positive role of OsAKR1 in abiotic stress-related reactive aldehyde detoxification pathways and its use for improvement of stress tolerance in plants.
    Plant Molecular Biology 03/2011; 75(4-5):399-412. DOI:10.1007/s11103-011-9735-7 · 4.26 Impact Factor
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