Opposite stereoselectivities of dirigent proteins in Arabidopsis and schizandra species.
ABSTRACT: How stereoselective monolignol-derived phenoxy radical-radical coupling reactions are differentially biochemically orchestrated in planta, whereby for example they afford (+)- and (-)-pinoresinols, respectively, is both a fascinating mechanistic and evolutionary question. In earlier work, biochemical control of (+)-pinoresinol formation had been established to be engendered by a (+)-pinoresinol-forming dirigent protein in Forsythia intermedia, whereas the presence of a (-)-pinoresinol-forming dirigent protein was indirectly deduced based on the enantiospecificity of downstream pinoresinol reductases (AtPrRs) in Arabidopsis thaliana root tissue. In this study of 16 putative dirigent protein homologs in Arabidopsis, AtDIR6, AtDIR10, and AtDIR13 were established to be root-specific using a ?-glucuronidase reporter gene strategy. Of these three, in vitro analyses established that only recombinant AtDIR6 was a (-)-pinoresinol-forming dirigent protein, whose physiological role was further confirmed using overexpression and RNAi strategies in vivo. Interestingly, its closest homolog, AtDIR5, was also established to be a (-)-pinoresinol-forming dirigent protein based on in vitro biochemical analyses. Both of these were compared in terms of properties with a (+)-pinoresinol-forming dirigent protein from Schizandra chinensis. In this context, sequence analyses, site-directed mutagenesis, and region swapping resulted in identification of putative substrate binding sites/regions and candidate residues controlling distinct stereoselectivities of coupling modes.
Project description:Control over phenoxy radical-radical coupling reactions in vivo in vascular plants was enigmatic until our discovery of dirigent proteins (DPs, from the Latin dirigere, to guide or align). The first three-dimensional structure of a DP ((+)-pinoresinol-forming DP, 1.95 Å resolution, rhombohedral space group H32)) is reported herein. It has a tightly packed trimeric structure with an eight-stranded ?-barrel topology for each DP monomer. Each putative substrate binding and orientation coupling site is located on the trimer surface but too far apart for intermolecular coupling between sites. It is proposed that each site enables stereoselective coupling (using either two coniferyl alcohol radicals or a radical and a monolignol). Interestingly, there are six differentially conserved residues in DPs affording either the (+)- or (-)-antipodes in the vicinity of the putative binding site and region known to control stereoselectivity. DPs are involved in lignan biosynthesis, whereas dirigent domains/sites have been implicated in lignin deposition.
Project description:The biochemical activities of dirigent proteins (DPs) give rise to distinct complex classes of plant phenolics. DPs apparently began to emerge during the aquatic-to-land transition, with phylogenetic analyses revealing the presence of numerous DP subfamilies in the plant kingdom. The vast majority (>95%) of DPs in these large multigene families still await discovery of their biochemical functions. Here, we elucidated the 3D structures of two pterocarpan-forming proteins with dirigent-like domains. Both proteins stereospecifically convert distinct diastereomeric chiral isoflavonoid precursors to the chiral pterocarpans, (-)- and (+)-medicarpin, respectively. Their 3D structures enabled comparisons with stereoselective lignan- and aromatic terpenoid-forming DP orthologs. Each protein provides entry into diverse plant natural products classes, and our experiments suggest a common biochemical mechanism in binding and stabilizing distinct plant phenol-derived mono- and bis-quinone methide intermediates during different C-C and C-O bond-forming processes. These observations provide key insights into both their appearance and functional diversification of DPs during land plant evolution/adaptation. The proposed biochemical mechanisms based on our findings provide important clues to how additional physiological roles for DPs and proteins harboring dirigent-like domains can now be rationally and systematically identified.
Project description:Phytophthora root and stem rot caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora sojae is a destructive disease of soybean worldwide. Plant dirigent proteins (DIR) are proposed to have roles in biosynthesis of either lignan or lignin-like molecules, and are important for defense responses, secondary metabolism, and pathogen resistance. In the present work, a novel DIR gene expressed sequence tag is identified as up-regulated in the highly resistant soybean cultivar 'Suinong 10' inoculated with P. sojae. The full length cDNA is isolated using rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and designated GmDIR22 (GenBank accession no. HQ_993047). The full length GmDIR22 is 789 bp and contains a 567 bp open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 188 amino acids. The sequence analysis indicated that GmDIR22 contains a conserved dirigent domain at amino acid residues 43-187. The quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR demonstrated that soybean GmDIR22 mRNA is expressed most highly in stems, followed by roots and leaves. The treatments with stresses demonstrated that GmDIR22 is significantly induced by P. sojae and gibberellic acid (GA3), and also responds to salicylic acid, methyl jasmonic acid, and abscisic acid. The GmDIR22 is targeted to the cytomembrane when transiently expressed in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Moreover, The GmDIR22 recombinant protein purified from Escherichia coli could effectively direct E-coniferyl alcohol coupling into lignan (+)-pinoresinol. Accordingly, the overexpression of GmDIR22 in transgenic soybean increased total lignan accumulation. Moreover, the lignan extracts from GmDIR22 transgenic plants effectively inhibits P. sojae hyphal growth. Furthermore, the transgenic overexpression of GmDIR22 in the susceptible soybean cultivar 'Dongnong 50' enhances its resistance to P. sojae. Collectively, these data suggested that the primary role of GmDIR22 is probably involved in the regulation of lignan biosynthesis, and which contributes to resistance to P. sojae.
Project description:A lignan, lariciresinol, was isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana, the most widely used model plant in plant bioscience sectors, for the first time. In the A. thaliana genome database, there are two genes (At1g32100 and At4g13660) that are annotated as pinoresinol/lariciresinol reductase (PLR). The recombinant AtPLRs showed strict substrate preference toward pinoresinol but only weak or no activity toward lariciresinol, which is in sharp contrast to conventional PLRs of other plants that can reduce both pinoresinol and lariciresinol efficiently to lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol, respectively. Therefore, we renamed AtPLRs as A. thaliana pinoresinol reductases (AtPrRs). The recombinant AtPrR2 encoded by At4g13660 reduced only (-)-pinoresinol to (-)-lariciresinol and not (+)-pinoresinol in the presence of NADPH. This enantiomeric selectivity accords with that of other PLRs of other plants so far reported, which can reduce one of the enantiomers selectively, whatever the preferential enantiomer. In sharp contrast, AtPrR1 encoded by At1g32100 reduced both (+)- and (-)-pinoresinols to (+)- and (-)-lariciresinols efficiently with comparative k(cat)/K(m) values. Analysis of lignans and spatiotemporal expression of AtPrR1 and AtPrR2 in their functionally deficient A. thaliana mutants and wild type indicated that both genes are involved in lariciresinol biosynthesis. In addition, the analysis of the enantiomeric compositions of lariciresinol isolated from the mutants and wild type showed that PrRs together with a dirigent protein(s) are involved in the enantiomeric control in lignan biosynthesis. Furthermore, it was demonstrated conclusively for the first time that differential expression of PrR isoforms that have distinct selectivities of substrate enantiomers can determine enantiomeric compositions of the product, lariciresinol.
Project description:The endodermis acts as a "second skin" in plant roots by providing the cellular control necessary for the selective entry of water and solutes into the vascular system. To enable such control, Casparian strips span the cell wall of adjacent endodermal cells to form a tight junction that blocks extracellular diffusion across the endodermis. This junction is composed of lignin that is polymerized by oxidative coupling of monolignols through the action of a NADPH oxidase and peroxidases. Casparian strip domain proteins (CASPs) correctly position this biosynthetic machinery by forming a protein scaffold in the plasma membrane at the site where the Casparian strip forms. Here, we show that the dirigent-domain containing protein, enhanced suberin1 (ESB1), is part of this machinery, playing an essential role in the correct formation of Casparian strips. ESB1 is localized to Casparian strips in a CASP-dependent manner, and in the absence of ESB1, disordered and defective Casparian strips are formed. In addition, loss of ESB1 disrupts the localization of the CASP1 protein at the casparian strip domain, suggesting a reciprocal requirement for both ESB1 and CASPs in forming the casparian strip domain.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Isatis indigotica Fort. is one of the most commonly used traditional Chinese medicines. Its antiviral compound is a kind of lignan, which is formed with the action of dirigent proteins (DIR). DIR proteins are members of a large family of proteins which impart stereoselectivity on the phenoxy radical-coupling reaction, yielding optically active lignans from two molecules of E-coniferyl alcohol. They exist in almost every vascular plant. However, the DIR and DIR-like protein gene family in I. indigotica has not been analyzed in detail yet. This study focuses on discovery and analysis of this protein gene family in I. indigotica for the first time. RESULTS: Analysis of transcription profiling database from I. indigotica revealed a family of 19 full-length unique DIR and DIR-like proteins. Sequence analysis found that I. indigotica DIR and DIR-like proteins (IiDIR) were all-beta strand proteins, with a signal peptide at the N-terminus. Phylogenetic analysis of the 19 proteins indicated that the IiDIR genes cluster into three distinct subfamilies, DIR-a, DIR-b/d, and DIR-e, of a larger plant DIR and DIR-like gene family. Gene-specific primers were designed for 19 unique IiDIRs and were used to evaluate patterns of constitutive expression in different organs. It showed that most IiDIR genes were expressed comparatively higher in roots and flowers than stems and leaves. CONCLUSIONS: New DIR and DIR-like proteins were discovered from the transcription profiling database of I. indigotica through bioinformatics methods for the first time. Sequence characteristics and transcript abundance of these new genes were analyzed. This study will provide basic data necessary for further studies.
Project description:Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) has been used as herbal medicine to treat various ailments since ancient times. The biological activity of nettle is chiefly attributed to a large group of phenylpropanoid dimers, namely lignans. Despite the pharmacological importance of nettle lignans, there are no studies addressing lignan biosynthesis in this plant. We herein identified 14 genes encoding dirigent proteins (UdDIRs) and 3 pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductase genes (UdPLRs) in nettle, which are two gene families known to be associated with lignan biosynthesis. Expression profiling of these genes on different organs/tissues revealed a specific expression pattern. Particularly, UdDIR7, 12 and 13 displayed a remarkable high expression in the top internode, fibre tissues of bottom internodes and roots, respectively. The relatively high expression of UdPLR1 and UdPLR2 in the young internodes, core tissue of bottom internode and roots is consistent with the high accumulation of lariciresinol and secoisolariciresinol in these tissues. Lignan quantification showed a high abundance of pinoresinol in roots and pinoresinol diglucosides in young internodes and leaves. This study sheds light on lignan composition and biosynthesis in nettle, providing a good basis for further functional analysis of DIRs and PLRs and, ultimately, engineering lignan metabolism in planta and in cell cultures.
Project description:Pterocarpan forms the basic structure of leguminous phytoalexins, and most of the isoflavonoid pathway genes encoding the enzymes responsible for its biosynthesis have been identified. However, the last step of pterocarpan biosynthesis is a ring closure reaction, and the enzyme that catalyzes this step, 2'-hydroxyisoflavanol 4,2'-dehydratase or pterocarpan synthase (PTS), remains as an unidentified 'missing link'. This last ring formation is assumed to be the key step in determining the stereochemistry of pterocarpans, which plays a role in their antimicrobial activity. In this study, a cDNA clone encoding PTS from Glycyrrhiza echinata (GePTS1) was identified through functional expression fractionation screening of a cDNA library, which requires no sequence information, and orthologs from soybean (GmPTS1) and Lotus japonicus (LjPTS1) were also identified. These proteins were heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and biochemically characterized. Surprisingly, the proteins were found to include amino acid motifs characteristic of dirigent proteins, some of which control stereospecific phenoxy radical coupling in lignan biosynthesis. The stereospecificity of substrates and products was examined using four substrate stereoisomers with hydroxy and methoxy derivatives at C-4'. The results showed that the 4R configuration was essential for the PTS reaction, and (-)- and (+)-pterocarpans were produced depending on the stereochemistry at C-3. In suspension-cultured soybean cells, levels of the GmPTS1 transcript increased temporarily prior to the peak in phytoalexin accumulation, strongly supporting the possible involvement of PTS in pterocarpan biosynthesis.
Project description:The dirigent (DIR and DIR-like) proteins involved in lignification, play a pivotal role against biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. However, no information is available about DIR gene family in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). In this study, 24 putative dirigent genes (CaDIRs) were identified, their gene structure, genome location, gene duplication and phylogenetic relationship were elucidated. Tissue-specific expression analysis displayed the highest transcription levels in flower, stem and leaf. Some CaDIRs were up-regulated by virulent (CaDIR2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 22 and 23) and avirulent (CaDIR3, 5, 7, 16, 20, 22, 23 and 24) Phytophthora capsici strains, as well as by Methyl jasmonate, salicylic acid, NaCl and mannitol stresses. Acid-soluble lignin content increased (103.21%) after P. capsici inoculation (48-hour). Silencing of CaDIR7 weakened plant defense by reducing (~50%) root activity and made plants more susceptible (35.7%) to P. capsici and NaCl (300 mM). Leaf discs of the CaDIR7:silenced plants exposed to NaCl and mannitol (300 mM each), exhibited a significant decrease (56.25% and 48% respectively) in the chlorophyll content. These results suggested that CaDIR7 is involved in pepper defense response against pathogen and abiotic stresses and the study will provide basic insights for future research regarding CaDIRs.
Project description:Pinoresinol is a high-value plant-derived lignan with multiple health supporting effects. Enantiomerically pure pinoresinol can be isolated from natural sources, but with low efficiency. Most chemical and biocatalytic approaches that have been described for the synthesis of pinoresinol furnish the racemic mixture. In this study we devised a three-step biocatalytic cascade for the production of enantiomerically pure pinoresinol from the cheap compound eugenol. Two consecutive oxidations of eugenol through vanillyl-alcohol oxidase and laccase are followed by kinetic resolution of racemic pinoresinol by enantiospecific pinoresinol reductases.The addition of the enantiospecific pinoresinol reductase from Arabidopsis thaliana for kinetic resolution of (±)-pinoresinol to an in vitro cascade involving the vanillyl-alcohol oxidase from Penicillium simplicissimum and the bacterial laccase CgL1 from Corynebacterium glutamicum resulted in increasing ee values for (+)-pinoresinol; however, an ee value of 34% was achieved in the best case. The ee value could be increased up to ≥ 99% by applying Escherichia coli-based whole-cell biocatalysts. The optimized process operated in a one-pot "two-cell" sequential mode and yielded 876 µM (+)-pinoresinol with an ee value of 98%. Switching the reductase to the enantiospecific pinoresinol lariciresinol reductase from Forsythia intermedia enabled the production of 610 µM (-)-pinoresinol with an ee value of 97%.A new approach for the synthesis of enantiomerically pure (+)- and (-)-pinoresinol is described that combines three biotransformation steps in one pot. By switching the reductase in the last step, the whole-cell biocatalysts can be directed to produce either (+)- or (-)-pinoresinol. The products of the reductases' activity, (-)-lariciresinol and (-)-secoisolariciresinol, are valuable precursors that can also be applied for the synthesis of further lignans.