Genes for asparagine metabolism in Lotus japonicus: differential expression and interconnection with photorespiration.
ABSTRACT: Asparagine is a very important nitrogen transport and storage compound in plants due to its high nitrogen/carbon ratio and stability. Asparagine intracellular concentration depends on a balance between asparagine biosynthesis and degradation. The main enzymes involved in asparagine metabolism are asparagine synthetase (ASN), asparaginase (NSE) and serine-glyoxylate aminotransferase (SGAT). The study of the genes encoding for these enzymes in the model legume Lotus japonicus is of particular interest since it has been proposed that asparagine is the principal molecule used to transport reduced nitrogen within the plant in most temperate legumes.A differential expression of genes encoding for several enzymes involved in asparagine metabolism was detected in L. japonicus. ASN is encoded by three genes, LjASN1 was the most highly expressed in mature leaves while LjASN2 expression was negligible and LjASN3 showed a low expression in this organ, suggesting that LjASN1 is the main gene responsible for asparagine synthesis in mature leaves. In young leaves, LjASN3 was the only ASN gene expressed although at low levels, while all the three genes encoding for NSE were highly expressed, especially LjNSE1. In nodules, LjASN2 and LjNSE2 were the most highly expressed genes, suggesting an important role for these genes in this organ. Several lines of evidence support the connection between asparagine metabolic genes and photorespiration in L. japonicus: a) a mutant plant deficient in LjNSE1 showed a dramatic decrease in the expression of the two genes encoding for SGAT; b) expression of the genes involved in asparagine metabolism is altered in a photorespiratory mutant lacking plastidic glutamine synthetase; c) a clustering analysis indicated a similar pattern of expression among several genes involved in photorespiratory and asparagine metabolism, indicating a clear link between LjASN1 and LjSGAT genes and photorespiration.The results obtained in this paper indicate the existence of a differential expression of asparagine metabolic genes in L. japonicus and point out the crucial relevance of particular genes in different organs. Moreover, the data presented establish clear links between asparagine and photorespiratory metabolic genes in this plant.
Project description:It is well established that the plastidic isoform of glutamine synthetase (GS2) is the enzyme in charge of photorespiratory ammonium reassimilation in plants. The metabolic events associated to photorespiratory NH4(+) accumulation were analyzed in a Lotus japonicus photorespiratory mutant lacking GS2. The mutant plants accumulated high levels of NH4(+) when photorespiration was active, followed by a sudden drop in the levels of this compound. In this paper it was examined the possible existence of enzymatic pathways alternative to GS2 that could account for this decline in the photorespiratory ammonium. Induction of genes encoding for cytosolic glutamine synthetase (GS1), glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) and asparagine synthetase (ASN) was observed in the mutant in correspondence with the diminishment of NH4(+). Measurements of gene expression, polypeptide levels, enzyme activity and metabolite levels were carried out in leaf samples from WT and mutant plants after different periods of time under active photorespiratory conditions. In the case of asparagine synthetase it was not possible to determine enzyme activity and polypeptide content; however, an increased asparagine content in parallel with the induction of ASN gene expression was detected in the mutant plants. This increase in asparagine levels took place concomitantly with an increase in glutamine due to the induction of cytosolic GS1 in the mutant, thus revealing a major role of cytosolic GS1 in the reassimilation and detoxification of photorespiratory NH4(+) when the plastidic GS2 isoform is lacking. Moreover, a diminishment in glutamate levels was observed, that may be explained by the induction of NAD(H)-dependent GDH activity.
Project description:Serine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (SGAT) converts glyoxylate and serine to glycine and hydroxypyruvate during photorespiration. Besides this, SGAT operates with several other substrates including asparagine. The impact of this enzymatic promiscuity on plant metabolism, particularly photorespiration and serine biosynthesis, is poorly understood. We found that elevated SGAT activity causes surprisingly clear changes in metabolism and interferes with photosynthetic CO2 uptake and biomass accumulation of Arabidopsis. The faster serine turnover during photorespiration progressively lowers day-time leaf serine contents and in turn induces the phosphoserine pathway. Transcriptional upregulation of this additional route of serine biosynthesis occurs already during the day but particularly at night, efficiently counteracting night-time serine depletion. Additionally, higher SGAT activity results in an increased use of asparagine as the external donor of amino groups to the photorespiratory pathway but does not alter leaf asparagine content at night. These results suggest leaf SGAT activity needs to be dynamically adjusted to ensure (i) variable flux through the photorespiratory pathway at a minimal consumption of asparagine and (ii) adequate serine levels for other cellular metabolism.
Project description:Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for plants and, in natural soils, its availability is often a major limiting factor for plant growth. Here we examine the effect of different forms of nitrogen nutrition and of photorespiration on gene expression in the model legume Lotus japonicus with the aim of identifying regulatory candidate genes co-ordinating primary nitrogen assimilation and photorespiration. The transcriptomic changes produced by the use of different nitrogen sources in leaves of L. japonicus plants combined with the transcriptomic changes produced in the same tissue by different photorespiratory conditions were examined. The results obtained provide novel information on the possible role of plastidic glutamine synthetase in the response to different nitrogen sources and in the C/N balance of L. japonicus plants. The use of gene co-expression networks establishes a clear relationship between photorespiration and primary nitrogen assimilation and identifies possible transcription factors connected to the genes of both routes.
Project description:The enolase2 gene is usually expressed in mature neurons and also named neuron specific enolase (NSE). In the present study, we first obtained the NSE gene cDNA sequence by using the RACE method based on the expressed sequence tag (EST) fragment from the cDNA library of Gekko japonicus and identified one transcript of about 2.2 kb in central nervous system of Gekko japonicus by Northern blotting. The open reading frame of NSE is 1305 bp, which encodes a 435 amino-acid protein. We further investigated the multi-tissue expression pattern of NSE by RT-PCR and found that the expression of NSE mRNA was very high in brain, spinal cord and low in heart, while it was not detectable in other tissues. The real-time quantitative PCR was used to investigate the time-dependent change in the expression of the NSE mRNA level after gecko spinal cord transection and found it significantly increased at one day, reaching its highest level three days post-injury and then decreasing at the seventh day of the experiment. The recombinant plasmid of pET-32a-NSE was constructed and induced to express His fused NSE protein. The purified NSE protein was used to immunize rabbits to generate polyclonal antisera. The titer of the antiserum was more than 1:65536 determined by ELISA. Western blotting showed that the prepared antibody could specifically recognize the recombinant and endogenous NSE protein. The result of immunohistochemistry revealed that positive signals were present in neurons of the brain and the spinal cord. This study provided the tools of cDNA and polyclonal antibody for studying NSE function in Gekko japonicus.
Project description:Asparagine synthetase (AS), a key enzyme in plant nitrogen metabolism, plays an important role in plant nitrogen assimilation and distribution. Asparagine (Asn), the product of asparagine synthetase, is one of the main compounds responsible for organic nitrogen transport and storage in plants. In this study, we performed complementation experiments using an Asn-deficient Escherichia coli strain to demonstrate that three putative asparagine synthetase family members in poplar (Populus simonii × P. nigra) function in Asn synthesis. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the three members had high expression levels in different tissues of poplar and were regulated by exogenous nitrogen. PnAS1 and PnAS2 were also affected by diurnal rhythm. Long-term dark treatment resulted in a significant increase in PnAS1 and PnAS3 expression levels. Under long-term light conditions, however, PnAS2 expression decreased significantly in the intermediate region of leaves. Exogenous application of ammonium nitrogen, glutamine, and a glutamine synthetase inhibitor revealed that PnAS3 was more sensitive to exogenous glutamine, while PnAS1 and PnAS2 were more susceptible to exogenous ammonium nitrogen. Our results suggest that the various members of the PnAS gene family have distinct roles in different tissues and are regulated in different ways.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The photorespiratory nitrogen cycle in C? plants involves an extensive diversion of carbon and nitrogen away from the direct pathways of assimilation. The liberated ammonia is re-assimilated, but up to 25% of the carbon may be released into the atmosphere as CO?. Because of the loss of CO? and high energy costs, there has been considerable interest in attempts to decrease the flux through the cycle in C? plants. Transgenic tobacco plants were generated that contained the genes gcl and hyi from E. coli encoding glyoxylate carboligase (EC 188.8.131.52) and hydroxypyruvate isomerase (EC 184.108.40.206) respectively, targeted to the peroxisomes. It was presumed that the two enzymes could work together and compete with the aminotransferases that convert glyoxylate to glycine, thus avoiding ammonia production in the photorespiratory nitrogen cycle.<h4>Results</h4>When grown in ambient air, but not in elevated CO?, the transgenic tobacco lines had a distinctive phenotype of necrotic lesions on the leaves. Three of the six lines chosen for a detailed study contained single copies of the gcl gene, two contained single copies of both the gcl and hyi genes and one line contained multiple copies of both gcl and hyi genes. The gcl protein was detected in the five transgenic lines containing single copies of the gcl gene but hyi protein was not detected in any of the transgenic lines. The content of soluble amino acids including glycine and serine, was generally increased in the transgenic lines growing in air, when compared to the wild type. The content of soluble sugars, glucose, fructose and sucrose in the shoot was decreased in transgenic lines growing in air, consistent with decreased carbon assimilation.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Tobacco plants have been generated that produce bacterial glyoxylate carboligase but not hydroxypyruvate isomerase. The transgenic plants exhibit a stress response when exposed to air, suggesting that some glyoxylate is diverted away from conversion to glycine in a deleterious short-circuit of the photorespiratory nitrogen cycle. This diversion in metabolism gave rise to increased concentrations of amino acids, in particular glutamine and asparagine in the leaves and a decrease of soluble sugars.
Project description:The present treatment of childhood T-cell leukemias involves the systemic administration of prokaryotic L-asparaginase (ASNase), which depletes plasma Asparagine (Asn) and inhibits protein synthesis. The mechanism of therapeutic action of ASNase is poorly understood, as are the etiologies of the side-effects incurred by treatment. Protein expression from genes bearing Asn homopolymeric coding regions (N-hCR) may be particularly susceptible to Asn level fluctuation. In mammals, N-hCR are rare, short and conserved. In humans, misfunctions of genes encoding N-hCR are associated with a cluster of disorders that mimic ASNase therapy side-effects which include impaired glycemic control, dislipidemia, pancreatitis, compromised vascular integrity, and neurological dysfunction. This paper proposes that dysregulation of Asn homeostasis, potentially even by ASNase produced by the microbiome, may contribute to several clinically important syndromes by altering expression of N-hCR bearing genes. By altering amino acid abundance and modulating ribosome translocation rates at codon repeats, the microbiomic environment may contribute to genome decoding and to shaping the proteome. We suggest that impaired translation at poly Asn codons elevates diabetes risk and severity.
Project description:Asparaginyl-tRNA (Asn-tRNA) and glutaminyl-tRNA (Gln-tRNA) are essential components of protein synthesis. They can be formed by direct acylation by asparaginyl-tRNA synthetase (AsnRS) or glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS). The alternative route involves transamidation of incorrectly charged tRNA. Examination of the preliminary genomic sequence of the radiation-resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans suggests the presence of both direct and indirect routes of Asn-tRNA and Gln-tRNA formation. Biochemical experiments demonstrate the presence of AsnRS and GlnRS, as well as glutamyl-tRNA synthetase (GluRS), a discriminating and a nondiscriminating aspartyl-tRNA synthetase (AspRS). Moreover, both Gln-tRNA and Asn-tRNA transamidation activities are present. Surprisingly, they are catalyzed by a single enzyme encoded by three ORFs orthologous to Bacillus subtilis gatCAB. However, the transamidation route to Gln-tRNA formation is idled by the inability of the discriminating D. radiodurans GluRS to produce the required mischarged Glu-tRNAGln substrate. The presence of apparently redundant complete routes to Asn-tRNA formation, combined with the absence from the D. radiodurans genome of genes encoding tRNA-independent asparagine synthetase and the lack of this enzyme in D. radiodurans extracts, suggests that the gatCAB genes may be responsible for biosynthesis of asparagine in this asparagine prototroph.
Project description:We isolated an ortholog (LjMYB12) of the Arabidopsis R2R3-MYB transcription factor (TF) gene from Lotus japonicus to investigate the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis, which is driven by many paralogous genes in L. japonicus. We characterized the spatial and temporal expression of LjMYB12 in leaves, stems, roots, flowers, immature seeds, seedling leaves, and seedling roots. Expression was much higher in flowers than in other tissues. To verify the relationship between the expression of LjMYB12 and that of flavonoid biosynthesis genes, we generated transgenic L. japonicus plants overexpressing LjMYB12. Overexpression of LjMYB12 resulted in the upregulation of genes for a chalcone synthase paralog (CHS1), flavanone 3-hydroxylase, and flavonol synthase. Interestingly, LjMYB12 strongly activated CHS1 but did not activate other CHS paralogs. This result suggests differences in the spatial or temporal activation of CHS paralogs by R2R3-MYB TFs. Molecular characterization of R2R3-MYB TFs in L. japonicus will reveal the effects of gene duplication on the regulation of diverse flavonoid biosynthesis.
Project description:This paper was aimed to investigate the possible implications of the lack of plastidic glutamine synthetase (GS2) in phenolic metabolism during stress responses in the model legume Lotus japonicus. Important changes in the transcriptome were detected in a GS2 mutant called Ljgln2-2, compared to the wild type, in response to two separate stress conditions, such as drought or the result of the impairment of the photorespiratory cycle. Detailed transcriptomic analysis showed that the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds was affected in the mutant plants in these two different types of stress situations. For this reason, the genes and metabolites related to this metabolic route were further investigated using a combined approach of gene expression analysis and metabolite profiling. A high induction of the expression of several genes for the biosynthesis of different branches of the phenolic biosynthetic pathway was detected by qRT-PCR. The extent of induction was always higher in Ljgln2-2, probably reflecting the higher stress levels present in this genotype. This was paralleled by accumulation of several kaempferol and quercetine glycosides, some of them described for the first time in L. japonicus, and of high levels of the isoflavonoid vestitol. The results obtained indicate that the absence of GS2 affects different aspects of phenolic metabolism in L. japonicus plants in response to stress.