, Volume 216, Issue 1, pp 155-161

Occurrence and formation of indole-3-acetamide in Arabidopsis thaliana

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An HPLC/GC–MS/MS technique (high-pressure liquid chromatography in combination with gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) has been worked out to analyze indole-3-acetamide (IAM) with very high sensitivity, using isotopically labelled IAM as an internal standard. Using this technique, the occurrence of IAM in sterile-grown Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. was demonstrated unequivocally. In comparison, plants grown under non-sterile conditions in soil in a greenhouse showed approximately 50% higher average levels of IAM, but the differences were not statistically significant. Thus, microbial contributions to the IAM extracted from the tissue are likely to be minor. Levels of IAM in sterile-grown seedlings were highest in imbibed seeds and then sharply declined during the first 24 h of germination and further during early seedling development to remain below 20–30 pmol g–1 fresh weight throughout the rosette stage. The decline in indole-3-aetic acid (IAA) levels during germination was paralleled by a similar decline in IAM levels. Recombinant nitrilase isoforms 1, 2 and 3, known to synthesize IAA from indole-3-acetonitrile, were shown to produce significant amounts of IAM in vitro as a second end product of the reaction besides IAA. NIT2 was earlier shown to be highly expressed in developing and in mature A. thaliana embryos, and NIT3 is the dominantly active gene in the hypocotyl and the cotyledons of young, germinating seedlings. Collectively, these data suggest that the elevated levels of IAM in seeds and germinating seedlings result from nitrilase action on indole-3-acetonitrile, a metabolite produced in the plants presumably from glucobrassicin turnover.

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