[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strigolactones are phytohormones synthesized from carotenoids via a stereospecific pathway involving the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 7 (CCD7) and 8. CCD7 cleaves 9-cis-β-carotene to form a supposedly 9-cis-configured β-apo-10'-carotenal. CCD8 converts this intermediate through a combination of yet undetermined reactions into the strigolactone-like compound carlactone. Here, we investigated the substrate and stereo-specificity of the Arabidopsis and pea CCD7 and determined the stereo-configuration of the β-apo-10'-carotenal intermediate by using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Our data unequivocally demonstrate the 9-cis-configuration of the intermediate. Both CCD7s cleave different 9-cis-carotenoids, yielding hydroxylated 9-cis-apo-10'-carotenals that may lead to hydroxylated carlactones, but show highest affinity for 9-cis-β-carotene.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The constitutive expression of the bacterial carotene desaturase (CRTI) in Arabidopsis thaliana leads to increased susceptibility of leaves to light-induced damage. Changes in the photosynthetic electron transport chain rather than alterations of the carotenoid composition in the antenna were responsible for the increased photoinhibition. A much higher level of superoxide/hydrogen peroxide was generated in the light in thylakoid membranes from the CRTI expressing lines than in wild-type while the level of singlet oxygen generation remained unchanged. The increase in reactive oxygen species was related to the activity of plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX) since their generation was inhibited by the PTOX-inhibitor octyl gallate, and since the protein level of PTOX was increased in the CRTI-expressing lines. Furthermore, cyclic electron flow was suppressed in these lines. We propose that PTOX competes efficiently with cyclic electron flow for plastoquinol in the CRTI-expressing lines and that it plays a crucial role in the control of the reduction state of the plastoquinone pool.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative cleavage of carotenoids and peroxidation of lipids lead to apocarotenals and aliphatic aldehydes called alkanals, which can react with vitally important compounds, promoting cytotoxicity. While many enzymes have been reported to deactivate alkanals by converting them into fatty acids, little is known about mechanisms employed to detoxify apocarotenals or enzymes acting on them. Cyanobacteria and other photosynthetic organisms have to cope with both classes of aldehydes. Here, we report that the Synechocystis enzyme SynAlh1, encoded by the ORF slr0091, is an aldehyde dehydrogenase mediating the oxidation of both apocarotenals and alkanals into the corresponding acids. Using crude lysate of SynAlh1 expressing Escherichia coli cells, we show that it converts a wide range of apocarotenals and alkanals, with a preference for apocarotenals with defined chain lengths. As suggested by in vitro incubations and using engineered retinal-forming Escherichia coli cells, retinal is not a substrate for SynAlh1, making an involvement in the supposed Synechocystis retinoid metabolism unlikely. Indicating a role in stress response, the transcript level of SynAlh1 is induced by high-light and cold treatment, and the corresponding gene is a constituent of a stress-related operon. The assumption on the function of SynAlh is further supported by the surprisingly high homology to human and plant ALDHs that have been assigned to aldehyde detoxification. SynAlh1 is the first ALDH shown to form both apocarotenoic and fatty acids. This dual function indicates that eukaryotic homologs may also be involved in apocarotenals metabolism, a function that has not been considered so far. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lycopene cyclases responsible for the formation of ε-ionone rings (LCYe) mark a plant-specific bifurcation of carotenogenesis. We investigated purified rice LCYe (OsLCYe) in a liposome-based biphasic assay system. OsLCYe depends on reduced flavin cofactors stabilizing a transient state formed during the non-redox cyclization reaction. In contrast to OsLCYb, OsLCYe produces predominantly monocyclic products and monocyclic carotene intermediates are not suitable substrates. Determination of the OsLCYe reaction specificities and the combined use of OsLCYb allow the characterization of the reaction sequence leading to heterocyclic carotenoids. It was also found that 5-cis-lycopene, which was thought to be decisive for ε-cyclization, was not involved in the reaction, with OsLCYe acting as an exclusion filter for this naturally occurring isomer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strigolactones, phytohormones with diverse signaling activities, have a common structure consisting of two lactones connected by an enol-ether bridge. Strigolactones derive from carotenoids via a pathway involving the carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 7 and 8 (CCD7 and CCD8) and the iron-binding protein D27. We show that D27 is a β-carotene isomerase that converts all-trans-β-carotene into 9-cis-β-carotene, which is cleaved by CCD7 into a 9-cis-configured aldehyde. CCD8 incorporates three oxygens into 9-cis-β-apo-10'-carotenal and performs molecular rearrangement, linking carotenoids with strigolactones and producing carlactone, a compound with strigolactone-like biological activities. Knowledge of the structure of carlactone will be crucial for understanding the biology of strigolactones and may have applications in combating parasitic weeds.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CRTI-type phytoene desaturases prevailing in bacteria and fungi can form lycopene directly from phytoene while plants employ two distinct desaturases and two cis-tans isomerases for the same purpose. This property renders CRTI a valuable gene to engineer provitamin A-formation to help combat vitamin A malnutrition, such as with Golden Rice. To understand the biochemical processes involved, recombinant CRTI was produced and obtained in homogeneous form that shows high enzymatic activity with the lipophilic substrate phytoene contained in phosphatidyl-choline (PC) liposome membranes. The first crystal structure of apo-CRTI reveals that CRTI belongs to the flavoprotein superfamily comprising protoporphyrinogen IX oxidoreductase and monoamine oxidase. CRTI is a membrane-peripheral oxidoreductase which utilizes FAD as the sole redox-active cofactor. Oxygen, replaceable by quinones in its absence, is needed as the terminal electron acceptor. FAD, besides its catalytic role also displays a structural function by enabling the formation of enzymatically active CRTI membrane associates. Under anaerobic conditions the enzyme can act as a carotene cis-trans isomerase. In silico-docking experiments yielded information on substrate binding sites, potential catalytic residues and is in favor of single half-site recognition of the symmetrical C(40) hydrocarbon substrate.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39550. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The carotene cis-trans isomerase CRTISO is a constituent of the carotene desaturation pathway as evolved in cyanobacteria and prevailing in plants,
in which a tetra-cis-lycopene species, termed prolycopene, is formed. CRTISO, an evolutionary descendant of the bacterial carotene desaturase
CRTI, catalyzes the cis-to-trans isomerization reactions leading to all-trans-lycopene, the substrate for the subsequent lycopene cyclization to form all-trans-α/β-carotene. CRTISO and CRTI share a dinucleotide binding motif at the N terminus. Here we report that this site is occupied
by FAD in CRTISO. The reduced form of this cofactor catalyzes a reaction not involving net redox changes. Results obtained
with C(1)- and C(5)-deaza-FAD suggest mechanistic similarities with type II isopentenyl diphosphate: dimethylallyl diphosphate
isomerase (IDI-2). CRTISO, together with lycopene cyclase CRTY and IDI-2, thus represents the third enzyme in isoprenoid metabolism
belonging to the class of non-redox enzymes depending on reduced flavin for activity. The regional specificity and the kinetics
of the isomerization reaction were investigated in vitro using purified enzyme and biphasic liposome-based systems carrying specific cis-configured lycopene species as substrates. The reaction proceeded from cis to trans, recognizing half-sides of the symmetrical prolycopene and was accompanied by one trans-to-cis isomerization step specific for the C(5)-C(6) double bond. Rice lycopene β-cyclase (OsLCY-b), when additionally introduced
into the biphasic in vitro system used, was found to be stereospecific for all-trans-lycopene and allowed the CRTISO reaction to proceed toward completion by modifying the thermodynamics of the overall reaction.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2011; 286(10):8666-8676. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The carotene cis-trans isomerase CRTISO is a constituent of the carotene desaturation pathway as evolved in cyanobacteria and prevailing in plants, in which a tetra-cis-lycopene species, termed prolycopene, is formed. CRTISO, an evolutionary descendant of the bacterial carotene desaturase CRTI, catalyzes the cis-to-trans isomerization reactions leading to all-trans-lycopene, the substrate for the subsequent lycopene cyclization to form all-trans-α/β-carotene. CRTISO and CRTI share a dinucleotide binding motif at the N terminus. Here we report that this site is occupied by FAD in CRTISO. The reduced form of this cofactor catalyzes a reaction not involving net redox changes. Results obtained with C(1)- and C(5)-deaza-FAD suggest mechanistic similarities with type II isopentenyl diphosphate: dimethylallyl diphosphate isomerase (IDI-2). CRTISO, together with lycopene cyclase CRTY and IDI-2, thus represents the third enzyme in isoprenoid metabolism belonging to the class of non-redox enzymes depending on reduced flavin for activity. The regional specificity and the kinetics of the isomerization reaction were investigated in vitro using purified enzyme and biphasic liposome-based systems carrying specific cis-configured lycopene species as substrates. The reaction proceeded from cis to trans, recognizing half-sides of the symmetrical prolycopene and was accompanied by one trans-to-cis isomerization step specific for the C(5)-C(6) double bond. Rice lycopene β-cyclase (OsLCY-b), when additionally introduced into the biphasic in vitro system used, was found to be stereospecific for all-trans-lycopene and allowed the CRTISO reaction to proceed toward completion by modifying the thermodynamics of the overall reaction.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2011; 286(10):8666-76. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Micronutrients are essential for a healthy life. Humans do not produce micronutrients, and hence they must obtain them through the foodchain. Staple crops are the predominant food source of mankind, but need to be complemented by other foodstuffs because they are generally deficient in one or the other micronutrient. Breeding for micronutrient-dense crops is not always a viable option because of the absence of genetic variability for the desired trait. Moreover, sterility issues and the complex genetic makeup of some crop plants make them unamenable to conventional breeding. In these cases, genetic modification remains the only viable option. The tools to produce a number of micronutrients in staple crops have recently become available thanks to the identification of the genes involved in the corresponding biochemical pathways at an unprecedented rate. Discarding genetic modification as a viable option is definitely not in the interest of human wellbeing.
New Biotechnology 11/2010; 27(5):478-81. · 1.71 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in a large number of countries. Biofortification of major staple crops (wheat [Triticum aestivum], rice [Oryza sativa], maize [Zea mays], and potato [Solanum tuberosum]) with β-carotene has the potential to alleviate this nutritional problem. Previously, we engineered transgenic "Golden" potato tubers overexpressing three bacterial genes for β-carotene synthesis (CrtB, CrtI, and CrtY, encoding phytoene synthase, phytoene desaturase, and lycopene β-cyclase, respectively) and accumulating the highest amount of β-carotene in the four aforementioned crops. Here, we report the systematic quantitation of carotenoid metabolites and transcripts in 24 lines carrying six different transgene combinations under the control of the 35S and Patatin (Pat) promoters. Low levels of B-I expression are sufficient for interfering with leaf carotenogenesis, but not for β-carotene accumulation in tubers and calli, which requires high expression levels of all three genes under the control of the Pat promoter. Tubers expressing the B-I transgenes show large perturbations in the transcription of endogenous carotenoid genes, with only minor changes in carotenoid content, while the opposite phenotype (low levels of transcriptional perturbation and high carotenoid levels) is observed in Golden (Y-B-I) tubers. We used hierarchical clustering and pairwise correlation analysis, together with a new method for network correlation analysis, developed for this purpose, to assess the perturbations in transcript and metabolite levels in transgenic leaves and tubers. Through a "guilt-by-profiling" approach, we identified several endogenous genes for carotenoid biosynthesis likely to play a key regulatory role in Golden tubers, which are candidates for manipulations aimed at the further optimization of tuber carotenoid content.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is an important staple crop, especially in the arid tropics. Because roots of commercial cassava cultivars contain a limited amount of provitamin A carotenoids, both conventional breeding and genetic modification are being applied to increase their production and accumulation to fight vitamin A deficiency disorders. We show here that an allelic polymorphism in one of the two expressed phytoene synthase (PSY) genes is capable of enhancing the flux of carbon through carotenogenesis, thus leading to the accumulation of colored provitamin A carotenoids in storage roots. A single nucleotide polymorphism present only in yellow-rooted cultivars cosegregates with colored roots in a breeding pedigree. The resulting amino acid exchange in a highly conserved region of PSY provides increased catalytic activity in vitro and is able to increase carotenoid production in recombinant yeast and Escherichia coli cells. Consequently, cassava plants overexpressing a PSY transgene produce yellow-fleshed, high-carotenoid roots. This newly characterized PSY allele provides means to improve cassava provitamin A content in cassava roots through both breeding and genetic modification.
The Plant Cell 10/2010; 22(10):3348-56. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abiotic stress stimuli induce the increased synthesis of abscisic acid (ABA), which is generated through the cleavage of xanthophyll precursors. To cope with the increased xanthophyll demand, maize and rice contain a third stress-induced gene copy, coding for phytoene synthase (PSY), which catalyzes the first carotenoid-specific reaction in the pathway. To investigate whether this specific response extends beyond the Poaceae, cassava was analyzed, an important tropical crop known for its drought tolerance. We also found three PSY genes in cassava, one of which (MePSY3) forms a separate branch with the stress-specific Poaceae homologs. However, MePSY3 transcripts were virtually absent in all tissues investigated and did not change upon abiotic stress treatment. In contrast, the two remaining PSY genes contributed differentially to carotenoid biosynthesis in leaves, roots, and flower organs and responded towards drought and salt-stress conditions. Detailed analyses of PSY and 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (MeNCED) expression and resulting ABA levels revealed MePSY1 as the main stress-responsive paralog. In the presence of high carotenoid levels in leaves, MePSY1 appeared to support, but not to be rate-limiting for ABA formation; MeNCED represented the main driver. The inverse situation was found in roots where carotenoid levels are low. Moreover, ABA formation and the relative induction kinetics showed discrimination between drought and salt stress. Compared to rice as a drought-intolerant species, the drought response in cassava followed a different kinetic regime. The difference is thought to represent a component contributing to the large differences in the adaptation towards water supply.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carotenoids are converted by carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases that catalyze oxidative cleavage reactions leading to apocarotenoids. However, apocarotenoids can also be further truncated by some members of this enzyme family. The plant carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 1 (CCD1) subfamily is known to degrade both carotenoids and apocarotenoids in vitro, leading to different volatile compounds. In this study, we investigated the impact of the rice CCD1 (OsCCD1) on the pigmentation of Golden Rice 2 (GR2), a genetically modified rice variety accumulating carotenoids in the endosperm. For this purpose, the corresponding cDNA was introduced into the rice genome under the control of an endosperm-specific promoter in sense and anti-sense orientations. Despite high expression levels of OsCCD1 in sense plants, pigment analysis revealed carotenoid levels and patterns comparable to those of GR2, pleading against carotenoids as substrates in rice endosperm. In support, similar carotenoid contents were determined in anti-sense plants. To check whether OsCCD1 overexpressed in GR2 endosperm is active, in vitro assays were performed with apocarotenoid substrates. HPLC analysis confirmed the cleavage activity of introduced OsCCD1. Our data indicate that apocarotenoids rather than carotenoids are the substrates of OsCCD1 in planta.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A prerequisite for biotechnological improvements of storage roots is the availability of tissue-specific promoters enabling high expression of transgenes. In this work, we cloned two genomic fragments, pMe1 and pDJ3S, controlling the expression of a gene with unknown function from cassava (Manihot esculenta) and of the storage protein dioscorin 3 small subunit gene from yam (Dioscorea japonica), respectively. Using beta-glucuronidase as a reporter, the activities of pMe1 and pDJ3S were evaluated in independent transgenic carrot lines and compared to the constitutive CaMV35S and the previously described cassava p15 promoters. Activities of pMe1 and pDJ3S in storage roots were assessed using quantitative GUS assays that showed pDJ3S as the most active one. To determine organ specificities, uidA transcript levels in leaves, stems and roots were measured by real-time RT-PCR analyses showing highest storage root specificity for pDJ3S. Root cross sections revealed that pMe1 was highly active in secondary xylem. In contrast, pDJ3S was active in all root tissues except for the central xylem. The expression patterns caused by the cassava p15 promoter in carrot storage roots were consistent with its previously described activities for the original storage organ. Our data demonstrate that the pDJ3S and, to a lesser extent, the pMe1 regulatory sequences represent feasible candidates to drive high and preferential expression of genes in carrot storage roots.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major constraint for incorporating new traits into cassava using biotechnology is the limited list of known/tested promoters that encourage the expression of transgenes in the cassava's starchy roots. Based on a previous report on the glutamic-acid-rich protein Pt2L4, indicating a preferential expression in roots, we cloned the corresponding gene including promoter sequence. A promoter fragment (CP2; 731 bp) was evaluated for its potential to regulate the expression of the reporter gene GUSPlus in transgenic cassava plants grown in the field. Intense GUS staining was observed in storage roots and vascular stem tissues; less intense staining in leaves; and none in the pith. Consistent with determined mRNA levels of the GUSPlus gene, fluorometric analyses revealed equal activities in root pulp and stems, but 3.5 times less in leaves. In a second approach, the activity of a longer promoter fragment (CP1) including an intrinsic intron was evaluated in carrot plants. CP1 exhibited a pronounced tissue preference, conferring high expression in the secondary phloem and vascular cambium of roots, but six times lower expression levels in leaf vascular tissues. Thus, CP1 and CP2 may be useful tools to improve nutritional and agronomical traits of cassava by genetic engineering. To date, this is the first study presenting field data on the specificity and potential of promoters for transgenic cassava.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cyclization of lycopene generates provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene and paves the way toward the formation of cyclic xanthophylls playing distinct roles in photosynthesis and as precursors for regulatory molecules in plants and animals. The biochemistry of lycopene cyclization has been enigmatic, as the previously proposed acid-base catalysis conflicted with the possibility of redox catalysis as predicted by the presence of a dinucleotide binding site. We show that reduced FAD is the essential lycopene cyclase (CrtY) cofactor. Using flavin analogs, mass spectrometry, and mutagenesis, evidence was obtained based on which a catalytic mechanism relying on cryptic (net) electron transfer can be refuted. The role of reduced FAD is proposed to reside in the stabilization of a transition state carrying a (partial) positive charge or of a positively charged intermediate via a charge transfer interaction, acid-base catalysis serving as the underlying catalytic principle. Lycopene cyclase, thus, ranks among the novel class of non-redox flavoproteins, such as isopentenyl diphosphate:dimethylallyl diphosphate isomerase type 2 (IDI-2) that requires the reduced form of the cofactor.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2010; 285(16):12109-20. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the first pathway-specific enzyme in carotenoid biosynthesis, phytoene synthase (PSY) is a prime regulatory target. This includes a number of biotechnological approaches that have successfully increased the carotenoid content in agronomically relevant non-green plant tissues through tissue-specific PSY overexpression. We investigated the differential effects of constitutive AtPSY overexpression in green and non-green cells of transgenic Arabidopsis lines. This revealed striking similarities to the situation found in orange carrot roots with respect to carotenoid amounts and sequestration mechanism.
In Arabidopsis seedlings, carotenoid content remained unaffected by increased AtPSY levels although the protein was almost quantitatively imported into plastids, as shown by western blot analyses. In contrast, non-photosynthetic calli and roots overexpressing AtPSY accumulated carotenoids 10 and 100-fold above the corresponding wild-type tissues and contained 1800 and 500 microg carotenoids per g dry weight, respectively. This increase coincided with a change of the pattern of accumulated carotenoids, as xanthophylls decreased relative to beta-carotene and carotene intermediates accumulated. As shown by polarization microscopy, carotenoids were found deposited in crystals, similar to crystalline-type chromoplasts of non-green tissues present in several other taxa. In fact, orange-colored carrots showed a similar situation with increased PSY protein as well as carotenoid levels and accumulation patterns whereas wild white-rooted carrots were similar to Arabidopsis wild type roots in this respect. Initiation of carotenoid crystal formation by increased PSY protein amounts was further confirmed by overexpressing crtB, a bacterial PSY gene, in white carrots, resulting in increased carotenoid amounts deposited in crystals.
The sequestration of carotenoids into crystals can be driven by the functional overexpression of one biosynthetic enzyme in non-green plastids not requiring a chromoplast developmental program as this does not exist in Arabidopsis. Thus, PSY expression plays a major, rate-limiting role in the transition from white to orange-colored carrots.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6373. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carotenoid cleavage products--apocarotenoids--include biologically active compounds, such as hormones, pigments and volatiles. Their biosynthesis is initiated by the oxidative cleavage of C-C double bonds in carotenoid backbones, leading to aldehydes and/or ketones. This step is catalyzed by carotenoid oxygenases, which constitute an ubiquitous enzyme family, including the group of plant carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases 1 (CCD1s), which mediates the formation of volatile C(13) ketones, such as beta-ionone, by cleaving the C9-C10 and C9'-C10' double bonds of cyclic and acyclic carotenoids. Recently, it was reported that plant CCD1s also act on the C5-C6/C5'-C6' double bonds of acyclic carotenes, leading to the volatile C(8) ketone 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one. Using in vitro and in vivo assays, we show here that rice CCD1 converts lycopene into the three different volatiles, pseudoionone, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, and geranial (C(10)), suggesting that the C7-C8/C7'-C8' double bonds of acyclic carotenoid ends constitute a novel cleavage site for the CCD1 plant subfamily. The results were confirmed by HPLC, LC-MS and GC-MS analyses, and further substantiated by in vitro incubations with the monocyclic carotenoid 3-OH-gamma-carotene and with linear synthetic substrates. Bicyclic carotenoids were cleaved, as reported for other plant CCD1s, at the C9-C10 and C9'-C10' double bonds. Our study reveals a novel source for the widely occurring plant volatile geranial, which is the cleavage of noncyclic ends of carotenoids.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies with the high-tillering mutants in rice (Oryza sativa), the max (more axillary growth) mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana and the rms (ramosus) mutants in pea (Pisum sativum) have indicated the presence of a novel plant hormone that inhibits branching in an auxin-dependent manner. The synthesis of this inhibitor is initiated by the two CCDs [carotenoid-cleaving (di)oxygenases] OsCCD7/OsCCD8b, MAX3/MAX4 and RMS5/RMS1 in rice, Arabidopsis and pea respectively. MAX3 and MAX4 are thought to catalyse the successive cleavage of a carotenoid substrate yielding an apocarotenoid that, possibly after further modification, inhibits the outgrowth of axillary buds. To elucidate the substrate specificity of OsCCD8b, MAX4 and RMS1, we investigated their activities in vitro using naturally accumulated carotenoids and synthetic apocarotenoid substrates, and in vivo using carotenoid-accumulating Escherichia coli strains. The results obtained suggest that these enzymes are highly specific, converting the C27 compounds beta-apo-10'-carotenal and its alcohol into beta-apo-13-carotenone in vitro. Our data suggest that the second cleavage step in the biosynthesis of the plant branching inhibitor is conserved in monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species.