, Volume 81, Issue 4-5, pp 401-415
Date: 18 Jan 2013

Medicago truncatula dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) enzymes display novel regulatory properties

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Lysine biosynthesis in plants is tightly regulated by feedback inhibition of the end product on the first enzyme of the lysine-specific branch, dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS). Three complete DHDPS coding sequences and one partial sequence were obtained in Medicago truncatula via inverse PCR. Analysis of the MtDHDPS sequences indicated the presence of isozymes (MtDHDPS2 and MtDHDPS3) with multiple amino acid substitutions on positions previously shown to be involved in feedback inhibition and of residues important for catalytic activity, possibly affecting the enzymatic properties of these isoforms. Sequences similar to MtDHDPS2 and 3 are present in Lotus japonicus and Glycine max, suggesting the existence of a specific conserved class of DHDPS genes within the Fabaceae family. The MtDHDPS genes were found by quantitative RT-PCR analysis to be expressed in an organ-specific manner in M. truncatula. All four MtDHDPS enzymes were expressed separately in Escherichia coli, revealing a strongly reduced sensitivity of the MtDHDPS2 protein to lysine feedback inhibition and a severely reduced activity of the MtDHDPS3 protein. Remarkably, MtDHDPS3 expression in Arabidopsis thaliana produced transgenic plants with a significantly increased threonine level, suggesting a dominant DHDPS inhibiting role of this isoform. This is supported by co-expression experiments in E. coli which indicate that AtDHDPS and MtDHDPS3 interact and may form hetero-oligomers with strongly reduced enzymatic activity. In conclusion, analysis of DHDPS in M. truncatula revealed the presence of unique isozymes displaying novel regulatory properties.