Reciprocal regulation of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase and proline dehydrogenase genes controls proline levels during and after osmotic stress in plants
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Plants generally accumulate free proline under osmotic stress conditions. Upon removal of the osmotic stress, the proline levels return to normal. In order to understand the mechanisms involved in regulating the levels of proline, we cloned and characterized a proline dehydrogenase (PDH) cDNA from Arabidopsis thaliana (AtPDH). The 1745 bp cDNA contains a major open reading frame encoding a peptide of 499 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence has high homology with both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Drosophila melanogaster proline oxidases and contains a putative mitochondrial targeting sequence. When expressed in yeast, the AtPDH cDNA complemented a yeast put1 mutation and exhibited proline oxidase activity. We also determined the free proline contents and the Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS) and PDH mRNA levels under different osmotic stress and recovery conditions. The results demonstrated that the removal of free proline during the recovery from salinity or dehydration stress involves an induction of the PDH gene while the activity of P5CS declines. The reciprocal regulation of P5CS and PDH genes appears to be a key mechanism in the control of the levels of proline during and after osmotic stress. The PDH gene was also significantly induced by exogenously applied proline. The induction of PDH by proline, however, was inhibited by salt stress.
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