A deletion in an indole synthase gene is responsible for the DIMBOA-deficient phenotype of bxbx maize.
ABSTRACT: The biosynthesis of DIMBOA, a pesticidal secondary metabolite of maize, branches off the tryptophan pathway. We have previously demonstrated that indole is the last intermediate common to both the tryptophan and hydroxamic acid pathways. The earliest discovered mutant in the DIMBOA pathway, bxbx (benzoxazineless), is deficient in the production of DIMBOA and related compounds. This paper presents evidence that a gene identified by Kramer and Koziel [Kramer, V. C. & Koziel, M. G. (1995) Plant Mol. Biol. 27, 1183-1188] as maize tryptophan synthase alpha (TSA) is the site of the genetic lesion in the DIMBOA-deficient mutant maize line bxbx. We demonstrate that the TSA gene has sustained a 924-bp deletion in bxbx compared with its counterpart in wild-type maize. We report that the TSA gene maps to the same location as the bxbx mutation, on the short arm of chromosome 4. We present evidence that the very early and very high level of expression of TSA corresponds to the timing and level of DIMBOA biosynthesis but is strikingly different from the expression of the maize tryptophan synthase beta (TSB) genes. We show that feeding indole to bxbx seedlings restores their ability to synthesize DIMBOA. We conclude that the maize enzyme initially named tryptophan synthase alpha in fact is a DIMBOA biosynthetic enzyme, and we propose that it be renamed indole synthase. This work confirms and enlarges upon the findings of Frey et al. [Frey, M., Chomet, P., Glawischniq, E., Stettner, C., Grün, S., Winklmair, A., Eisenreich, W., Bacher, A., Meeley, R. B., Briggs, S. P., Simcox, K. & Gierl, A. (1997) Science 277, 696-699], which appeared while the present paper was in review.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In bacteria, such as Salmonella typhimurium, tryptophan is synthesized from indole-3-glycerole phosphate (IGP) by a tryptophan synthase alphabetabetaalpha heterotetramer. Plants have evolved multiple alpha (TSA) and beta (TSB) homologs, which have probably diverged in biological function and their ability of subunit interaction. There is some evidence for a tryptophan synthase (TS) complex in Arabidopsis. On the other hand maize (Zea mays) expresses the TSA-homologs BX1 and IGL that efficiently cleave IGP, independent of interaction with TSB. RESULTS: In order to clarify, how tryptophan is synthesized in maize, two TSA homologs, hitherto uncharacterized ZmTSA and ZmTSAlike, were functionally analyzed. ZmTSA is localized in plastids, the major site of tryptophan biosynthesis in plants. It catalyzes the tryptophan synthase alpha-reaction (cleavage of IGP), and forms a tryptophan synthase complex with ZmTSB1 in vitro. The catalytic efficiency of the alpha-reaction is strongly enhanced upon complex formation. A 160 kD tryptophan synthase complex was partially purified from maize leaves and ZmTSA was identified as native alpha-subunit of this complex by mass spectrometry. ZmTSAlike, for which no in vitro activity was detected, is localized in the cytosol. ZmTSAlike, BX1, and IGL were not detectable in the native tryptophan synthase complex in leaves. CONCLUSION: It was demonstrated in vivo and in vitro that maize forms a tryptophan synthase complex and ZmTSA functions as alpha-subunit in this complex.
Project description:Maize and a variety of other plant species release volatile compounds in response to herbivore attack that serve as chemical cues to signal natural enemies of the feeding herbivore. N-(17-hydroxylinolenoyl)-l-glutamine is an elicitor component that has been isolated and chemically characterized from the regurgitant of the herbivore-pest beet armyworm. This fatty acid derivative, referred to as volicitin, triggers the synthesis and release of volatile components, including terpenoids and indole in maize. Here we report on a previously unidentified enzyme, indole-3-glycerol phosphate lyase (IGL), that catalyzes the formation of free indole and is selectively activated by volicitin. IGL's enzymatic properties are similar to BX1, a maize enzyme that serves as the entry point to the secondary defense metabolites DIBOA and DIMBOA. Gene-sequence analysis indicates that Igl and Bx1 are evolutionarily related to the tryptophan synthase alpha subunit.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The benzoxazinoids 2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIBOA) and 2,4-dihydroxy-7- methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA), are key defense compounds present in major agricultural crops such as maize and wheat. Their biosynthesis involves nine enzymes thought to form a linear pathway leading to the storage of DI(M)BOA as glucoside conjugates. Seven of the genes (Bx1-Bx6 and Bx8) form a cluster at the tip of the short arm of maize chromosome 4 that includes four P450 genes (Bx2-5) belonging to the same CYP71C subfamily. The origin of this cluster is unknown. RESULTS:We show that the pathway appeared following several duplications of the TSA gene (?-subunit of tryptophan synthase) and of a Bx2-like ancestral CYP71C gene and the recruitment of Bx8 before the radiation of Poaceae. The origins of Bx6 and Bx7 remain unclear. We demonstrate that the Bx2-like CYP71C ancestor was not committed to the benzoxazinoid pathway and that after duplications the Bx2-Bx5 genes were under positive selection on a few sites and underwent functional divergence, leading to the current specific biochemical properties of the enzymes. The absence of synteny between available Poaceae genomes involving the Bx gene regions is in contrast with the conserved synteny in the TSA gene region. CONCLUSIONS:These results demonstrate that rearrangements following duplications of an IGL/TSA gene and of a CYP71C gene probably resulted in the clustering of the new copies (Bx1 and Bx2) at the tip of a chromosome in an ancestor of grasses. Clustering favored cosegregation and tip chromosomal location favored gene rearrangements that allowed the further recruitment of genes to the pathway. These events, a founding event and elongation events, may have been the key to the subsequent evolution of the benzoxazinoid biosynthetic cluster.
Project description:Benzoxazinoids, such as 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIMBOA), are secondary metabolites in grasses. In addition to their function in plant defence against pests and diseases above-ground, benzoxazinoids (BXs) have also been implicated in defence below-ground, where they can exert allelochemical or antimicrobial activities. We have studied the impact of BXs on the interaction between maize and Pseudomonas putida KT2440, a competitive coloniser of the maize rhizosphere with plant-beneficial traits. Chromatographic analyses revealed that DIMBOA is the main BX compound in root exudates of maize. In vitro analysis of DIMBOA stability indicated that KT2440 tolerance of DIMBOA is based on metabolism-dependent breakdown of this BX compound. Transcriptome analysis of DIMBOA-exposed P. putida identified increased transcription of genes controlling benzoate catabolism and chemotaxis. Chemotaxis assays confirmed motility of P. putida towards DIMBOA. Moreover, colonisation essays in soil with Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-expressing P. putida showed that DIMBOA-producing roots of wild-type maize attract significantly higher numbers of P. putida cells than roots of the DIMBOA-deficient bx1 mutant. Our results demonstrate a central role for DIMBOA as a below-ground semiochemical for recruitment of plant-beneficial rhizobacteria during the relatively young and vulnerable growth stages of maize.
Project description:A striking difference between genital and ocular clinical isolates of Chlamydia trachomatis is that only the former express a functional tryptophan synthase and therefore can synthesize tryptophan by indole salvage. Ocular isolates uniformly cannot use indole due to inactivating mutations within tryptophan synthase, indicating a selection against maintaining this enzyme in the ocular environment. Here, we demonstrate that this selection occurs in two steps. First, specific indole derivatives, produced by the human gut microbiome and present in serum, rapidly induce expression of C. trachomatis tryptophan synthase, even under conditions of tryptophan sufficiency. We demonstrate that these indole derivatives function by acting as de-repressors of C. trachomatis TrpR. Second, trp operon de-repression is profoundly deleterious when infected cells are in an indole-deficient environment, because in the absence of indole, tryptophan synthase deaminates serine to pyruvate and ammonia. We have used biochemical and genetic approaches to demonstrate that expression of wild-type tryptophan synthase is required for the bactericidal production of ammonia. Pertinently, although these indole derivatives de-repress the trpRBA operon of C. trachomatis strains with trpA or trpB mutations, no ammonia is produced, and no deleterious effects are observed. Our studies demonstrate that tryptophan synthase can catalyze the ammonia-generating ?-elimination reaction within any live bacterium. Our results also likely explain previous observations demonstrating that the same indole derivatives inhibit the growth of other pathogenic bacterial species, and why high serum levels of these indole derivatives are favorable for the prognosis of diseased conditions associated with bacterial dysbiosis.
Project description:Tailoring defense responses to different attackers is important for plant performance. Plants can use secondary metabolites with dual functions in resistance and defense signaling to mount herbivore-specific responses. To date, the specificity and evolution of this mechanism are unclear. Here, we studied the functional architecture, specificity, and genetic basis of defense regulation by benzoxazinoids in cereals. We document that DIMBOA-Glc induces callose as an aphid resistance factor in wheat. O-methylation of DIMBOA-Glc to HDMBOA-Glc increases plant resistance to caterpillars but reduces callose inducibility and resistance to aphids. DIMBOA-Glc induces callose in wheat and maize, but not in Arabidopsis, while the glucosinolate 4MO-I3M does the opposite. We identify a wheat O-methyltransferase (TaBX10) that is induced by caterpillar feeding and converts DIMBOA-Glc to HDMBOA-Glc in vitro. While the core pathway of benzoxazinoid biosynthesis is conserved between wheat and maize, the wheat genome does not contain close homologs of the maize DIMBOA-Glc O-methyltransferase genes, and TaBx10 is only distantly related. Thus, the functional architecture of herbivore-specific defense regulation is similar in maize and wheat, but the regulating biosynthetic genes likely evolved separately. This study shows how two different cereal species independently achieved herbivore-specific defense activation by regulating secondary metabolite production.
Project description:Endophytic fungi are known to produce indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), which can stimulate plant growth. Twenty-seven isolates of endophytic fungi were isolated from Coffea arabica in northern Thailand. Only one isolate (CMU-A109) produced IAA in vitro. This isolate was identified as Colletotrichum fructicola based on morphological characteristics and molecular phylogenetic analysis of a combined five loci (internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA, actin, ?-tubulin 2, chitin synthase and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase genes). Identification of a fungal IAA production obtained from indole 3-acetamide (IAM) and tryptophan 2-monooxygenase activity is suggestive of IAM routed IAA biosynthesis. The highest IAA yield (1205.58±151.89 ?g/mL) was obtained after 26 days of cultivation in liquid medium supplemented with 8 mg/mL L-tryptophan at 30°C. Moreover, the crude fungal IAA could stimulate coleoptile elongation of maize, rice and rye. This is the first report of IAA production by C. fructicola and its ability to produce IAA was highest when compared with previous reports on IAA produced by fungi.
Project description:The putative prenyltransferase gene ACLA_031240 belonging to the dimethylallyltryptophan synthase superfamily was identified in the genome sequence of Aspergillus clavatus and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The soluble His-tagged protein EAW08391 was purified to near homogeneity and used for biochemical investigation with diverse aromatic substrates in the presence of different prenyl diphosphates. It has shown that in the presence of dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), the recombinant enzyme accepted very well simple indole derivatives with L-tryptophan as the best substrate. Product formation was also observed for tryptophan-containing cyclic dipeptides but with much lower conversion yields. In contrast, no product formation was detected in the reaction mixtures of L-tryptophan with geranyl or farnesyl diphosphate. Structure elucidation of the enzyme products by NMR and MS analyses proved unequivocally the highly regiospecific regular prenylation at C-5 of the indole nucleus of the simple indole derivatives. EAW08391 was therefore termed 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase, and it filled the last gap in the toolbox of indole prenyltransferases regarding their prenylation positions. K(m) values of 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase were determined for L-tryptophan and DMAPP at 34 and 76 μM, respectively. Average turnover number (k(cat)) at 1.1 s(-1) was calculated from kinetic data of L-tryptophan and DMAPP. Catalytic efficiencies of 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase for L-tryptophan at 25,588 s(-1)·M(-1) and for other 11 simple indole derivatives up to 1538 s(-1)·M(-1) provided evidence for its potential usage as a catalyst for chemoenzymatic synthesis.
Project description:Benzoxazinoids represent preformed protective and allelopathic compounds. The main benzoxazinoid in maize (Zea mays L.) is 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA). DIMBOA confers resistance to herbivores and microbes. Protective concentrations are found predominantly in young plantlets. We made use of the genetic diversity present in the maize nested association mapping (NAM) panel to identify lines with significant benzoxazinoid concentrations at later developmental stages. At 24 d after imbibition (dai), only three lines, including Mo17, showed effective DIMBOA concentrations of 1.5mM or more; B73, by contrast, had low a DIMBOA content. Mapping studies based on Mo17 and B73 were performed to reveal mechanisms that influence the DIMBOA level in 24 dai plants. A major quantitative trait locus mapped to the Bx gene cluster located on the short arm of chromosome 4, which encodes the DIMBOA biosynthetic genes. Mo17 was distinguished from all other NAM lines by high transcriptional expression of the Bx1 gene at later developmental stages. Bx1 encodes the signature enzyme of the pathway. In Mo17×B73 hybrids at 24 dai, only the Mo17 Bx1 allele transcript was detected. A 3.9kb cis-element, termed DICE (distal cis-element), that is located in the Bx gene cluster approximately 140 kb upstream of Bx1, was required for high Bx1 transcript levels during later developmental stages in Mo17. The DICE region was a hotspot of meiotic recombination. Genetic analysis revealed that high 24 dai DIMBOA concentrations were not strictly dependent on high Bx1 transcript levels. However, constitutive expression of Bx1 in transgenics increased DIMBOA levels at 24 dai, corroborating a correlation between DIMBOA content and Bx1 transcription.
Project description:Plants produce a group of aldoxime metabolites that are well known as volatiles and as intermediates in cyanogenic glycoside and glucosinolate biosynthesis in particular plant families. Recently it has been demonstrated that aldoximes can also accumulate as part of direct plant defense in poplar. Cytochrome P450 enzymes of the CYP79 family were shown to be responsible for the formation of aldoximes from their amino acid precursors.Here we describe the identification and characterization of maize CYP79A61 which was heterologously expressed in yeast and Nicotiana benthamiana and shown to catalyze the formation of (E/Z)-phenylacetaldoxime and (E/Z)-indole-3-acetaldoxime from L-phenylalanine and L-tryptophan, respectively. Simulated herbivory on maize leaves resulted in an increased CYP79A61 transcript accumulation and in elevated levels of L-phenylalanine and (E/Z)-phenylacetaldoxime. Although L-tryptophan levels were also increased after the treatment, (E/Z)-indole-3-acetaldoxime could not be detected in the damaged leaves. However, simulated herbivory caused a significant increase in auxin concentration.Our data suggest that CYP79A61 might contribute to the formation of (E/Z)-phenylacetaldoxime in maize. Since aldoximes have been described as toxic compounds for insect herbivores and pathogens, the increased accumulation of (E/Z)-phenylacetaldoxime after simulated herbivory indicates that this compound plays a role in plant defense. In addition, it is conceivable that (E/Z)-indole-3-acetaldoxime produced by recombinant CYP79A61 could be further converted into the plant hormone indole-3-acetic acid after herbivore feeding in maize.