Pathway Editing Targets for Thiamine Biofortification in Rice Grains.
ABSTRACT: Thiamine deficiency is common in populations consuming polished rice as a major source of carbohydrates. Thiamine is required to synthesize thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), an essential cofactor of enzymes of central metabolism. Its biosynthesis pathway has been partially elucidated and the effect of overexpression of a few genes such as thi1 and thiC, on thiamine accumulation in rice has been reported. Based on current knowledge, this review focuses on the potential of gene editing in metabolic engineering of thiamine biosynthesis pathway to improve thiamine in rice grains. Candidate genes, suitable for modification of the structural part to evolve more efficient versions of enzymes in the pathway, are discussed. For example, adjacent cysteine residues may be introduced in the catalytic domain of thi4 to improve the turn over activity of thiamine thiazole synthase 2. Motif specific editing to modify promoter regulatory regions of genes is discussed to modulate gene expression. Editing cis acting regulatory elements in promoter region can shift the expression of transporters and thiamine binding proteins to endosperm. This can enhance dietary availability of thiamine from rice grains. Differential transcriptomics on rice varieties with contrasting grain thiamine and functional genomic studies will identify more strategic targets for editing in future. Developing functionally enhanced foods by biofortification is a sustainable approach to make diets wholesome.
Project description:Thiamine is known to be an important compound in human diet and it is a cofactor required for vital metabolic processes such as acetyl-CoA biosynthesis, amino acid biosynthesis, Krebs and Calvin cycle. Besides that, thiamine has been shown to be involved in plant protection against stress. In this study, the level of expression of THIC and THI1/THI4, the genes for the first two enzymes in the thiamine biosynthesis pathway were observed when oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) was subjected to oxidative stress. Primers were designed based on the consensus sequence of thiamine biosynthesis genes obtained from Arabidopsis thaliana, Zea mays, Oryza sativa, and Alnus glutinosa. Oxidative stress were induced with various concentrations of paraquat and samplings were done at various time points post-stress induction. The expression of THIC and THI1/THI4 genes were observed via RT-PCR and qPCR analysis. The expression of THIC was increased 2-fold, while THI1/THI4 gene transcript was increased 4-fold upon induction of oxidative stress. These findings showed that oil palm responded to oxidative stress by over-expressing the genes involved in thiamine biosynthesis. These findings support the suggestion that thiamine may play an important role in plant protection against stress.
Project description:thi4 mutants of Schizosaccharomyces pombe exhibit defective thiamine biosynthesis, and thi4 mutations define a gene which is believed to be involved in the phosphorylation of 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine or 5-(2-hydroxyethyl)-4-methylthiazole and/or in the coupling of the two phosphorylated precursors to thiamine monophosphate (A. M. Schweingruber, J. Dlugonski, E. Edenharter, and M. E. Schweingruber, Curr. Genet. 19:249-254, 1991). The thi4 gene was cloned by functional complementation of a thi4 mutant and physically mapped on the left arm of chromosome I close to the genetic marker gln1. The thi4-carrying DNA fragment shows an open reading frame encoding a protein of 518 amino acids and a calculated molecular mass of 55.6 kDa. The appearance of thi4 mRNA is strongly repressed by thiamine and to a lesser extent by 5-(2-hydroxyethyl)-4-methylthiazole. thi4 mRNA production is under the control of the thi1 gene-encoded transcription factor and of the negative regulators encoded by genes tnr1, tnr2, and tnr3. thi4 is expressed and regulated in manners similar to those of other S. pombe genes involved in thiamine metabolism, including thi2, thi3, and pho4.
Project description:Thiamine biosynthesis is commonly regulated by a riboswitch mechanism; however, the enzymatic steps and regulation of this pathway in archaea are poorly understood. Haloferax volcanii, one of the representative archaea, uses a eukaryote-like Thi4 (thiamine thiazole synthase) for the production of the thiazole ring and condenses this ring with a pyrimidine moiety synthesized by an apparent bacterium-like ThiC (2-methyl-4-amino-5-hydroxymethylpyrimidine [HMP] phosphate synthase) branch. Here we found that archaeal Thi4 and ThiC were encoded by leaderless transcripts, ruling out a riboswitch mechanism. Instead, a novel ThiR transcription factor that harbored an N-terminal helix-turn-helix (HTH) DNA binding domain and C-terminal ThiN (TMP synthase) domain was identified. In the presence of thiamine, ThiR was found to repress the expression of thi4 and thiC by a DNA operator sequence that was conserved across archaeal phyla. Despite having a ThiN domain, ThiR was found to be catalytically inactive in compensating for the loss of ThiE (TMP synthase) function. In contrast, bifunctional ThiDN, in which the ThiN domain is fused to an N-terminal ThiD (HMP/HMP phosphate [HMP-P] kinase) domain, was found to be interchangeable for ThiE function and, thus, active in thiamine biosynthesis. A conserved Met residue of an extended ?-helix near the active-site His of the ThiN domain was found to be important for ThiDN catalytic activity, whereas the corresponding Met residue was absent and the ?-helix was shorter in ThiR homologs. Thus, we provide new insight into residues that distinguish catalytic from noncatalytic ThiN domains and reveal that thiamine biosynthesis in archaea is regulated by a transcriptional repressor, ThiR, and not by a riboswitch.IMPORTANCE Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) is a cofactor needed for the enzymatic activity of many cellular processes, including central metabolism. In archaea, thiamine biosynthesis is an apparent chimera of eukaryote- and bacterium-type pathways that is not well defined at the level of enzymatic steps or regulatory mechanisms. Here we find that ThiN is a versatile domain of transcriptional repressors and catalytic enzymes of thiamine biosynthesis in archaea. Our study provides new insight into residues that distinguish catalytic from noncatalytic ThiN domains and reveals that archaeal thiamine biosynthesis is regulated by a ThiN domain transcriptional repressor, ThiR, and not by a riboswitch.
Project description:In bacteria, many genes involved in the biosynthesis of cofactors such as thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) are regulated by ribo switches, regions in the 5' end of mRNAs to which the cofactor binds, thereby affecting translation and/or transcription. TPP riboswitches have now been identified in fungi, in which they alter mRNA splicing. Here, we show that addition of thiamine to cultures of the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii alters splicing of transcripts for the THI4 and THIC genes, encoding the first enzymes of the thiazole and pyrimidine branches of thiamine biosynthesis, respectively, concomitant with an increase in intracellular thiamine and TPP levels. Comparison with Volvox carteri, a related alga, revealed highly conserved regions within introns of these genes. Inspection of the sequences identified TPP riboswitch motifs, and RNA transcribed from the regions binds TPP in vitro. The THI4 riboswitch, but not the promoter region, was found to be necessary and sufficient for thiamine to repress expression of a luciferase-encoding reporter construct in vivo. The pyr1 mutant of C. reinhardtii, which is resistant to the thiamine analogue pyrithiamine, has a mutation in the THI4 riboswitch that prevents the THI4 gene from being repressed by TPP. By the use of these ribo switches, thiamine biosynthesis in C. reinhardtii can be effectively regulated at physiological concentrations of the vitamin.
Project description:Rice is a major food crop to approximately half of the human population. Unfortunately, the starchy endosperm, which is the remaining portion of the seed after polishing, contains limited amounts of micronutrients. Here, it is shown that this is particularly the case for thiamin (vitamin B1). Therefore, a tissue-specific metabolic engineering approach was conducted, aimed at enhancing the level of thiamin specifically in the endosperm. To achieve this, three major thiamin biosynthesis genes, THIC, THI1 and TH1, controlled by strong endosperm-specific promoters, were employed to obtain engineered rice lines. The metabolic engineering approaches included ectopic expression of THIC alone, in combination with THI1 (bigenic) or combined with both THI1 and TH1 (trigenic). Determination of thiamin and thiamin biosynthesis intermediates reveals the impact of the engineering approaches on endosperm thiamin biosynthesis. The results show an increase of thiamin in polished rice up to threefold compared to WT, and stable upon cooking. These findings confirm the potential of metabolic engineering to enhance de novo thiamin biosynthesis in rice endosperm tissue and aid in steering future biofortification endeavours.
Project description:Vitamin B1, which consists of the vitamers thiamin and its phosphorylated derivatives, is an essential micronutrient for all living organisms because it is required as a metabolic cofactor in several enzymatic reactions. Genetic diversity of vitamin B1 biosynthesis and accumulation has not been investigated in major crop species other than rice and potato. We analyzed cassava germplasm for accumulation of B1 vitamers. Vitamin B1 content in leaves and roots of 41 cassava accessions showed significant variation between accessions. HPLC analyses of B1 vitamers revealed distinct profiles in cassava leaves and storage roots, with nearly equal relative levels of thiamin pyrophosphate and thiamin monophosphate in leaves, but mostly thiamin pyrophosphate in storage roots. Unusually, the cassava genome has two genes encoding the 4-amino-2-methyl-5-hydroxymethylpyrimidine phosphate synthase, THIC (MeTHIC1 and MeTHIC2), both of which carry a riboswitch in the 3'-UTR, as well as the adenylated thiazole synthase, THI1 (MeTHI1a and MeTHI1b). The THIC and THI1 genes are expressed at very low levels in storage roots compared with the accumulation of vitamin B1, indicating only limited biosynthesis de novo therein. In leaves, vitamin B1 content is negatively correlated with THIC and THI1 expression levels, suggesting post-transcriptional regulation of THIC by the riboswitch present in the 3'-UTR of the THIC mRNA and regulation of THI1 by promoter activity or alternative post-transcriptional mechanisms.
Project description:Thiamine, or vitamin B1 plays an indispensable role as a cofactor in crucial metabolic reactions including glycolysis, pentose phosphate pathway and the tricarboxylic acid cycle in all living organisms. Thiamine has been shown to play a role in plant adaptation toward biotic and abiotic stresses. The modulation of thiamine biosynthetic genes in oil palm seedlings was evaluated in response to root colonization by endophytic Hendersonia toruloidea. Seven-month-old oil palm seedlings were inoculated with H. toruloidea and microscopic analyses were performed to visualize the localization of endophytic H. toruloidea in oil palm roots. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed that H. toruloidea colonized cortical cells. The expression of thiamine biosynthetic genes and accumulation of total thiamine in oil palm seedlings were also evaluated. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to measure transcript abundances of four key thiamine biosynthesis genes (THI4, THIC, TH1, and TPK) on days 1, 7, 15, and 30 in response to H. toruloidea colonization. The results showed an increase of up to 12-fold in the expression of all gene transcripts on day 1 post-inoculation. On days 7, 15, and 30 post-inoculation, the relative expression levels of these genes were shown to be downregulated. Thiamine accumulation was observed on day 7 post-colonization and subsequently decreased until day 30. This work provides the first evidence for the enhancement of thiamine biosynthesis by endophytic colonization in oil palm seedlings.
Project description:Thiamine (vitamin B1) is synthesized de novo by certain yeast, fungi, plants, protozoans, bacteria and archaea. The pathway of thiamine biosynthesis by archaea is poorly understood, particularly the route of sulfur relay to form the thiazole ring. Archaea harbor structural homologs of both the bacterial (ThiS-ThiF) and eukaryotic (THI4) proteins that mobilize sulfur to thiazole ring precursors by distinct mechanisms.Based on comparative genome analysis, halophilic archaea are predicted to synthesize the pyrimidine moiety of thiamine by the bacterial pathway, initially suggesting that also a bacterial ThiS-ThiF type mechanism for synthesis of the thiazole ring is used in which the sulfur carrier ThiS is first activated by ThiF-catalyzed adenylation. The only ThiF homolog of Haloferax volcanii (UbaA) was deleted but this had no effect on growth in the absence of thiamine. Usage of the eukaryotic THI4-type sulfur relay was initially considered less likely for thiamine biosynthesis in archaea, since the active-site cysteine residue of yeast THI4p that donates the sulfur to the thiazole ring by a suicide mechanism is replaced by a histidine residue in many archaeal THI4 homologs and these are described as D-ribose-1,5-bisphosphate isomerases. The THI4 homolog of the halophilic archaea, including Hfx. volcanii (HVO_0665, HvThi4) was found to differ from that of methanogens and thermococci by having a cysteine residue (Cys165) corresponding to the conserved active site cysteine of yeast THI4p (Cys205). Deletion of HVO_0665 generated a thiamine auxotroph that was trans-complemented by a wild-type copy of HVO_0665, but not the modified gene encoding an HvThi4 C165A variant.Based on our results, we conclude that the archaeon Hfx. volcanii uses a yeast THI4-type mechanism for sulfur relay to form the thiazole ring of thiamine. We extend this finding to a relatively large group of archaea, including haloarchaea, ammonium oxidizing archaea, and some methanogen and Pyrococcus species, by observing that these organisms code for THI4 homologs that have a conserved active site cysteine residue which is likely used in thiamine biosynthesis. Thus, archaeal members of IPR002922 THI4 family that have a conserved cysteine active site should be reexamined for a function in thiamine biosynthesis.
Project description:Riboswitches are RNA regulatory elements that bind specific ligands to control gene expression. Because of their modular composition, where a ligand-sensing aptamer domain is combined with an expression platform, riboswitches offer unique tools for synthetic biology applications. Here we took a mutational approach to determine functionally important nucleotide residues in the thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch in the THI4 gene of the model alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, allowing us to carry out aptamer swap using THIC aptamers from Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis thaliana. These chimeric riboswitches displayed a distinct specificity and dynamic range of responses to different ligands. Our studies demonstrate ease of assembly as 5'UTR DNA parts, predictability of output, and utility for controlled production of a high-value compound in Chlamydomonas. The simplicity of riboswitch incorporation in current design platforms will facilitate the generation of genetic circuits to advance synthetic biology and metabolic engineering of microalgae.
Project description:Thiamin (or thiamine) is a water-soluble B-vitamin (B1), which is required, in the form of thiamin pyrophosphate, as an essential cofactor in crucial carbon metabolism reactions in all forms of life. To ensure adequate metabolic functioning, humans rely on a sufficient dietary supply of thiamin. Increasing thiamin levels in plants via metabolic engineering is a powerful strategy to alleviate vitamin B1 malnutrition and thus improve global human health. These engineering strategies rely on comprehensive knowledge of plant thiamin metabolism and its regulation. Here, multiple metabolic engineering strategies were examined in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This was achieved by constitutive overexpression of the three biosynthesis genes responsible for B1 synthesis, HMP-P synthase (THIC), HET-P synthase (THI1), and HMP-P kinase/TMP pyrophosphorylase (TH1), either separate or in combination. By monitoring the levels of thiamin, its phosphorylated entities, and its biosynthetic intermediates, we gained insight into the effect of either strategy on thiamin biosynthesis. Moreover, expression analysis of thiamin biosynthesis genes showed the plant's intriguing ability to respond to alterations in the pathway. Overall, we revealed the necessity to balance the pyrimidine and thiazole branches of thiamin biosynthesis and assessed its biosynthetic intermediates. Furthermore, the accumulation of nonphosphorylated intermediates demonstrated the inefficiency of endogenous thiamin salvage mechanisms. These results serve as guidelines in the development of novel thiamin metabolic engineering strategies.