Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 809–821 | Cite as

Evidence for the thiamine biosynthetic pathway in higher-plant plastids and its developmental regulation

  • Faith C. Belanger
  • Thomas Leustek
  • Boyang Chu
  • Alan L. Kriz
Research Article


Thiamine or vitamin B-1, is an essential constituent of all cells since it is a cofactor for two enzyme complexes involved in the citric acid cycle, pyruvate dehydrogenase and α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase. Thiamine is synthesized by plants, but it is a dietary requirement for humans and other animals. The biosynthetic pathway for thiamine in plants has not been well characterized and none of the enzymes involved have been isolated. Here we report the cloning and characterization of two cDNAs representing members of the maize thi1 gene family encoding an enzyme of the thiamine biosynthetic pathway. This assignment was made based on sequence homology to a yeast thiamine biosynthetic gene and by functional complementation of a yeast strain in which the endogenous gene was inactivated. Using immunoblot analysis, the thi1 gene product was found to be located in a plastid membrane fraction. RNA gel blot analysis of various tissues and developmental stages indicated thi1 expression was differentially regulated in a manner consistent with what is known about thiamine synthesis in plants. This is the first report of cDNAs encoding proteins involved in thiamine biosynthesis for any plant species.

Key words

Zea mays thiamine 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faith C. Belanger
    • 1
  • Thomas Leustek
    • 1
  • Boyang Chu
    • 1
  • Alan L. Kriz
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Science DepartmentRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.DeKalb Genetics Corp.MysticUSA

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