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.
ABSTRACT 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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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; 8:121. DOI:10.1186/1476-4598-8-121 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lignocellulosic biomass is utilized as a renewable feedstock in various agro-industrial activities. Lignin is an aromatic, hydrophobic and mildly branched polymer integrally associated with polysaccharides within the biomass, which negatively affects their extraction and hydrolysis during industrial processing. Engineering the monomer composition of lignins offers an attractive option towards new lignins with reduced recalcitrance. The presented work describes a new strategy developed in Arabidopsis for the overproduction of rare lignin monomers to reduce lignin polymerization degree (DP). Biosynthesis of these 'DP reducers' is achieved by expressing a bacterial hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA hydratase-lyase (HCHL) in lignifying tissues of Arabidopsis inflorescence stems. HCHL cleaves the propanoid side-chain of hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA lignin precursors to produce the corresponding hydroxybenzaldehydes so that plant stems expressing HCHL accumulate in their cell wall higher amounts of hydroxybenzaldehyde and hydroxybenzoate derivatives. Engineered plants with intermediate HCHL activity levels show no reduction in total lignin, sugar content or biomass yield compared with wild-type plants. However, cell wall characterization of extract-free stems by thioacidolysis and by 2D-NMR revealed an increased amount of unusual C₆C₁ lignin monomers most likely linked with lignin as end-groups. Moreover the analysis of lignin isolated from these plants using size-exclusion chromatography revealed a reduced molecular weight. Furthermore, these engineered lines show saccharification improvement of pretreated stem cell walls. Therefore, we conclude that enhancing the biosynthesis and incorporation of C₆C₁ monomers ('DP reducers') into lignin polymers represents a promising strategy to reduce lignin DP and to decrease cell wall recalcitrance to enzymatic hydrolysis.Plant Biotechnology Journal 03/2012; 10(5):609-20. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7652.2012.00692.x · 5.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Glyoxalases are known to play a very important role in abiotic stress tolerance. This two-step pathway detoxifies ubiquitously present cytotoxic metabolite methylglyoxal, which otherwise increases to lethal concentrations under various stress conditions. Methylglyoxal initiates stress-induced signaling cascade via reactive oxygen species, resulting in the modifications of proteins involved in various signal transduction pathways, that eventually culminates in cell death or growth arrest. The associated mechanism of tolerance conferred by over-expression of methylglyoxal-detoxifying glyoxalase pathway mainly involves lowering of methylglyoxal levels, thereby reducing subsequently induced cellular toxicity. Apart from abiotic stresses, expression of glyoxalases is affected by a wide variety of other stimuli such as biotic, chemical and hormonal treatments. Additionally, alterations in cellular milieu during plant growth and development also affect expression of glyoxalases. The multiple stress-inducible nature of these enzymes suggests a vital role for glyoxalases, associating them with plant defense mechanisms. In this context, we have summarized available transcriptome, proteome and genetic engineering- based reports in order to highlight the involvement of glyoxalases as important components of plant stress response. The role of methylglyoxal as signaling molecule is also discussed. Further, we examine the suitability of glyoxalases and methylglyoxal as potential markers for stress tolerance.Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 06/2014; 33(6). DOI:10.1080/07352689.2014.904147 · 5.29 Impact Factor