[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isoflavonoids are a class of phenylpropanoids made by legumes, and consumption of dietary isoflavonoids confers benefits to human health. Our aim is to understand the regulation of isoflavonoid biosynthesis. Many studies have shown the importance of transcription factors in regulating the transcription of one or more genes encoding enzymes in phenylpropanoid metabolism. In this study, we coupled bioinformatics and coexpression analysis to identify candidate genes encoding transcription factors involved in regulating isoflavonoid biosynthesis in Lotus (Lotus japonicus). Genes encoding proteins belonging to 39 of the main transcription factor families were examined by microarray analysis of RNA from leaf tissue that had been elicited with glutathione. Phylogenetic analyses of each transcription factor family were used to identify subgroups of proteins that were specific to L. japonicus or closely related to known regulators of the phenylpropanoid pathway in other species. R2R3MYB subgroup 2 genes showed increased expression after treatment with glutathione. One member of this subgroup, LjMYB14, was constitutively overexpressed in L. japonicus and induced the expression of at least 12 genes that encoded enzymes in the general phenylpropanoid and isoflavonoid pathways. A distinct set of six R2R3MYB subgroup 2-like genes was identified. We suggest that these subgroup 2 sister group proteins and those belonging to the main subgroup 2 have roles in inducing isoflavonoid biosynthesis. The induction of isoflavonoid production in L. japonicus also involves the coordinated down-regulation of competing biosynthetic pathways by changing the expression of other transcription factors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyanogenesis, the release of hydrogen cyanide from damaged plant tissues, involves the enzymatic degradation of amino acid-derived cyanogenic glucosides (alpha-hydroxynitrile glucosides) by specific beta-glucosidases. Release of cyanide functions as a defense mechanism against generalist herbivores. We developed a high-throughput screening method and used it to identify cyanogenesis deficient (cyd) mutants in the model legume Lotus japonicus. Mutants in both biosynthesis and catabolism of cyanogenic glucosides were isolated and classified following metabolic profiling of cyanogenic glucoside content. L. japonicus produces two cyanogenic glucosides: linamarin (derived from Val) and lotaustralin (derived from Ile). Their biosynthesis may involve the same set of enzymes for both amino acid precursors. However, in one class of mutants, accumulation of lotaustralin and linamarin was uncoupled. Catabolic mutants could be placed in two complementation groups, one of which, cyd2, encoded the beta-glucosidase BGD2. Despite the identification of nine independent cyd2 alleles, no mutants involving the gene encoding a closely related beta-glucosidase, BGD4, were identified. This indicated that BGD4 plays no role in cyanogenesis in L. japonicus in vivo. Biochemical analysis confirmed that BGD4 cannot hydrolyze linamarin or lotaustralin and in L. japonicus is specific for breakdown of related hydroxynitrile glucosides, such as rhodiocyanoside A. By contrast, BGD2 can hydrolyze both cyanogenic glucosides and rhodiocyanosides. Our genetic analysis demonstrated specificity in the catabolic pathways for hydroxynitrile glucosides and implied specificity in their biosynthetic pathways as well. In addition, it has provided important tools for elucidating and potentially modifying cyanogenesis pathways in plants.