, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 925-948

Genome organization in Arabidopsis thaliana: a survey for genes involved in isoprenoid and chlorophyll metabolism

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Abstract

The isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway provides intermediates for the synthesis of a multitude of natural products which serve numerous biochemical functions in plants: sterols (isoprenoids with a C30 backbone) are essential components of membranes; carotenoids (C40) and chlorophylls (which contain a C20 isoprenoid side-chain) act as photosynthetic pigments; plastoquinone, phylloquinone and ubiquinone (all of which contain long isoprenoid side-chains) participate in electron transport chains; gibberellins (C20), brassinosteroids (C30) and abscisic acid (C15) are phytohormones derived from isoprenoid intermediates; prenylation of proteins (with C15 or C20 isoprenoid moieties) may mediate subcellular targeting and regulation of activity; and several monoterpenes (C10), sesquiterpenes (C15) and diterpenes (C20) have been demonstrated to be involved in plant defense. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of genes coding for enzymes involved in the metabolism of isoprenoid-derived compounds in Arabidopsis thaliana. By combining homology and sequence motif searches with knowledge regarding the phylogenetic distribution of pathways of isoprenoid metabolism across species, candidate genes for these pathways in A. thaliana were obtained. A detailed analysis of the vicinity of chromosome loci for genes of isoprenoid metabolism in A. thaliana provided evidence for the clustering of genes involved in common pathways. Multiple sequence alignments were used to estimate the number of genes in gene families and sequence relationship trees were utilized to classify their individual members. The integration of all these datasets allows the generation of a knowledge-based metabolic map of isoprenoid metabolic pathways in A. thaliana and provides a substantial improvement of the currently available gene annotation.