Label-free Raman hyperspectral imaging analysis localizes the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin to the cytoplasm in sorghum cells.
ABSTRACT: Localisation of metabolites in sorghum coleoptiles using Raman hyperspectral imaging analysis was compared in wild type plants and mutants that lack cyanogenic glucosides. This novel method allows high spatial resolution in situ localization by detecting functional groups associated with cyanogenic glucosides using vibrational spectroscopy. Raman hyperspectral imaging revealed that dhurrin was found mainly surrounding epidermal, cortical and vascular tissue, with the greatest amount in cortical tissue. Numerous "hotspots" demonstrated dhurrin to be located within both cell walls and cytoplasm adpressed towards the plasmamembrane and not in the vacuole as previously reported. The high concentration of dhurrin in the outer cortical and epidermal cell layers is consistent with its role in defence against herbivory. This demonstrates the ability of Raman hyperspectral imaging to locate cyanogenic glucosides in intact tissues, avoiding possible perturbations and imprecision that may accompany methods that rely on bulk tissue extraction methods, such as protoplast isolation.
Project description:Focused and nontargeted approaches were used to assess the impact associated with introduction of new high-flux pathways in Arabidopsis thaliana by genetic engineering. Transgenic A. thaliana plants expressing the entire biosynthetic pathway for the tyrosine-derived cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin as accomplished by insertion of CYP79A1, CYP71E1, and UGT85B1 from Sorghum bicolor were shown to accumulate 4% dry-weight dhurrin with marginal inadvertent effects on plant morphology, free amino acid pools, transcriptome, and metabolome. In a similar manner, plants expressing only CYP79A1 accumulated 3% dry weight of the tyrosine-derived glucosinolate, p-hydroxybenzylglucosinolate with no morphological pleitropic effects. In contrast, insertion of CYP79A1 plus CYP71E1 resulted in stunted plants, transcriptome alterations, accumulation of numerous glucosides derived from detoxification of intermediates in the dhurrin pathway, and in loss of the brassicaceae-specific UV protectants sinapoyl glucose and sinapoyl malate and kaempferol glucosides. The accumulation of glucosides in the plants expressing CYP79A1 and CYP71E1 was not accompanied by induction of glycosyltransferases, demonstrating that plants are constantly prepared to detoxify xenobiotics. The pleiotrophic effects observed in plants expressing sorghum CYP79A1 and CYP71E1 were complemented by retransformation with S. bicolor UGT85B. These results demonstrate that insertion of high-flux pathways directing synthesis and intracellular storage of high amounts of a cyanogenic glucoside or a glucosinolate is achievable in transgenic A. thaliana plants with marginal inadvertent effects on the transcriptome and metabolome.
Project description:Cyanogenic glycosides are defense compounds found in a wide range of plant species, including many crops. We demonstrate that the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin, naturally found in sorghum, can be produced at high titers in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, constituting the first report of cyanogenic glycoside production in a microbe. Genetic modifications to increase the supply of the dhurrin precursor tyrosine enabled dhurrin production in excess of 80?mg/L. The dhurrin-producing yeast strain was used as a chassis to investigate previously uncharacterized enzymes identified close to the biosynthetic gene cluster containing the dhurrin pathway enzymes. This work shows the potential of heterologous expression in yeast to facilitate investigations of plant cyanogenic glycoside pathways.
Project description:Genomic gene clusters for the biosynthesis of chemical defence compounds are increasingly identified in plant genomes. We previously reported the independent evolution of biosynthetic gene clusters for cyanogenic glucoside biosynthesis in three plant lineages. Here we report that the gene cluster for the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin in Sorghum bicolor additionally contains a gene, SbMATE2, encoding a transporter of the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family, which is co-expressed with the biosynthetic genes. The predicted localisation of SbMATE2 to the vacuolar membrane was demonstrated experimentally by transient expression of a SbMATE2-YFP fusion protein and confocal microscopy. Transport studies in Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrate that SbMATE2 is able to transport dhurrin. In addition, SbMATE2 was able to transport non-endogenous cyanogenic glucosides, but not the anthocyanin cyanidin 3-O-glucoside or the glucosinolate indol-3-yl-methyl glucosinolate. The genomic co-localisation of a transporter gene with the biosynthetic genes producing the transported compound is discussed in relation to the role self-toxicity of chemical defence compounds may play in the formation of gene clusters.
Project description:Whole genome sequencing has allowed rapid progress in the application of forward genetics in model species. In this study, we demonstrated an application of next-generation sequencing for forward genetics in a complex crop genome. We sequenced an ethyl methanesulfonate-induced mutant of Sorghum bicolor defective in hydrogen cyanide release and identified the causal mutation. A workflow identified the causal polymorphism relative to the reference BTx623 genome by integrating data from single nucleotide polymorphism identification, prior information about candidate gene(s) implicated in cyanogenesis, mutation spectra, and polymorphisms likely to affect phenotypic changes. A point mutation resulting in a premature stop codon in the coding sequence of dhurrinase2, which encodes a protein involved in the dhurrin catabolic pathway, was responsible for the acyanogenic phenotype. Cyanogenic glucosides are not cyanogenic compounds but their cyanohydrins derivatives do release cyanide. The mutant accumulated the glucoside, dhurrin, but failed to efficiently release cyanide upon tissue disruption. Thus, we tested the effects of cyanide release on insect herbivory in a genetic background in which accumulation of cyanogenic glucoside is unchanged. Insect preference choice experiments and herbivory measurements demonstrate a deterrent effect of cyanide release capacity, even in the presence of wild-type levels of cyanogenic glucoside accumulation. Our gene cloning method substantiates the value of (1) a sequenced genome, (2) a strongly penetrant and easily measurable phenotype, and (3) a workflow to pinpoint a causal mutation in crop genomes and accelerate in the discovery of gene function in the postgenomic era.
Project description:Plant chloroplasts are light-driven cell factories that have great potential to act as a chassis for metabolic engineering applications. Using plant chloroplasts, we demonstrate how photosynthetic reducing power can drive a metabolic pathway to synthesise a bio-active natural product. For this purpose, we stably engineered the dhurrin pathway from Sorghum bicolor into the chloroplasts of Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco). Dhurrin is a cyanogenic glucoside and its synthesis from the amino acid tyrosine is catalysed by two membrane-bound cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP79A1 and CYP71E1) and a soluble glucosyltransferase (UGT85B1), and is dependent on electron transfer from a P450 oxidoreductase. The entire pathway was introduced into the chloroplast by integrating CYP79A1, CYP71E1, and UGT85B1 into a neutral site of the N. tabacum chloroplast genome. The two P450s and the UGT85B1 were functional when expressed in the chloroplasts and converted endogenous tyrosine into dhurrin using electrons derived directly from the photosynthetic electron transport chain, without the need for the presence of an NADPH-dependent P450 oxidoreductase. The dhurrin produced in the engineered plants amounted to 0.1-0.2% of leaf dry weight compared to 6% in sorghum. The results obtained pave the way for plant P450s involved in the synthesis of economically important compounds to be engineered into the thylakoid membrane of chloroplasts, and demonstrate that their full catalytic cycle can be driven directly by photosynthesis-derived electrons.
Project description:A major limitation for the utilization of sorghum forage is the production of the cyanogenic glycoside dhurrin in its leaves and stem that may cause the death of cattle feeding on it at the pre-flowering stage. Therefore, we attempted to develop transgenic sorghum plants with reduced levels of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) by antisense mediated down-regulation of the expression of cytochrome P450 CYP79A1, the key enzyme of the dhurrin biosynthesis pathway. CYP79A1 cDNA was isolated and cloned in antisense orientation, driven by rice Act1 promoter. Shoot meristem explants of sorghum cultivar CSV 15 were transformed by the particle bombardment method and 27 transgenics showing the integration of transgene were developed. The biochemical assay for HCN in the transgenic sorghum plants confirmed significantly reduced HCN levels in transgenic plants and their progenies. The HCN content in the transgenics varied from 5.1 to 149.8 ?g/g compared to 192.08 ?g/g in the non-transformed control on dry weight basis. Progenies with reduced HCN content were advanced after each generation till T3. In T3 generation, progenies of two promising events were tested which produced highly reduced levels of HCN (mean of 62.9 and 76.2 ?g/g, against the control mean of 221.4 ?g/g). The reduction in the HCN levels of transgenics confirmed the usefulness of this approach for reducing HCN levels in forage sorghum plants. The study effectively demonstrated that the antisense CYP79A1 gene deployment was effective in producing sorghum plants with lower HCN content which are safer for cattle to feed on.
Project description:Honeybees (Apis mellifera) pollinate flowers and collect nectar from many important crops. White clover (Trifolium repens) is widely grown as a temperate forage crop, and requires honeybee pollination for seed set. In this study, using a quantitative LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry) assay, we show that the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin are present in the leaves, sepals, petals, anthers, and nectar of T. repens. Cyanogenic glucosides are generally thought to be defense compounds, releasing toxic hydrogen cyanide upon degradation. However, increasing evidence indicates that plant secondary metabolites found in nectar may protect pollinators from disease or predators. In a laboratory survival study with chronic feeding of secondary metabolites, we show that honeybees can ingest the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and amygdalin at naturally occurring concentrations with no ill effects, even though they have enzyme activity towards degradation of cyanogenic glucosides. This suggests that honeybees can ingest and tolerate cyanogenic glucosides from flower nectar. Honeybees retain only a portion of ingested cyanogenic glucosides. Whether they detoxify the rest using rhodanese or deposit them in the hive should be the focus of further research.
Project description:Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.)) Moench is an important food for humans and feed for livestock. Sorghum contains dhurrin which can be degraded into toxic hydrogen cyanide. Here, we report the expression patterns of 14 candidate genes related to dhurrin ((S)-4-Hydroxymandelnitrile-?-D-glucopyranoside) metabolism and the effects of the gene expression on specific metabolite content in selected sorghum accessions. Dhurrin-related metabolism is vigorous in the early stages of development of sorghum. The dhurrin contents of most accessions tested were in the range of approximately 6-22 ?g mg-1 fresh leaf tissue throughout growth. The p-hydroxybenzaldehyde (pHB) contents were high at seedling stages, but almost nonexistent at adult stages. The contents of p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (pHPAAc) were relatively low throughout growth compared to those of dhurrin or pHB. Generally, the expression of the candidate genes was higher at seedling stage than at other stages and decreased gradually as plants grew. In addition, we identified significant SNPs, and six of them were potentially associated with non-synonymous changes in CAS1. Our results may provide the basis for choosing breeding materials to regulate cyanide contents in sorghum varieties to prevent HCN toxicity of livestock or to promote drought tolerance or pathogen resistance.
Project description:Low molecular weight compounds are typically used by insects and plants for defence against predators. They are often stored as inactive ?-glucosides and kept separate from activating ?-glucosidases. When the two components are mixed, the ?-glucosides are hydrolysed releasing toxic aglucones. Cyanogenic plants contain cyanogenic glucosides and release hydrogen cyanide due to such a well-characterized two-component system. Some arthropods are also cyanogenic, but comparatively little is known about their system. Here, we identify a specific ?-glucosidase (ZfBGD2) involved in cyanogenesis from larvae of Zygaena filipendulae (Lepidoptera, Zygaenidae), and analyse the spatial organization of cyanide release in this specialized insect. High levels of ZfBGD2 mRNA and protein were found in haemocytes by transcriptomic and proteomic profiling. Heterologous expression in insect cells showed that ZfBGD2 hydrolyses linamarin and lotaustralin, the two cyanogenic glucosides present in Z. filipendulae. Linamarin and lotaustralin as well as cyanide release were found exclusively in the haemoplasma. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that ZfBGD2 clusters with other insect ?-glucosidases, and correspondingly, the ability to hydrolyse cyanogenic glucosides catalysed by a specific ?-glucosidase evolved convergently in insects and plants. The spatial separation of the ?-glucosidase ZfBGD2 and its cyanogenic substrates within the haemolymph provides the basis for cyanide release in Z. filipendulae. This spatial separation is similar to the compartmentalization of the two components found in cyanogenic plant species, and illustrates one similarity in cyanide-based defence in these two kingdoms of life.
Project description:Flax seed has become consumers' choice for not only polyunsaturated alpha-linolenic fatty acid but also nutraceuticals such as lignans and soluble fiber. There is, however, a major drawback of flax as a source of functional food since the seeds contain significant level of cyanogenic glucosides. The final step of cyanogenic glucoside biosynthesis is mediated by UDP-glucose dependent glucosyltransferase. To date, no flax cyanogenic glucosyl transferase genes have been reported with verified biochemical functionality. Here we present a study on the identification and enzymatic characterization of a first flax cyanogenic glucosyltransferase, LuCGT1. We show that LuCGT1 was highly active towards both aliphatic and aromatic substrates. The LuCGT1 gene is expressed in leaf tissues as well as in developing seeds, and its expression level was drastically reduced in flax mutant lines low in cyanogenic glucosides. Identification of LuCGT1 provides a molecular handle for developing gene specific markers for targeted breeding of low cyanogenic glucosides in flax.