, Volume 225, Issue 5, pp 1205–1219 | Cite as

Coordination of PsAS1 and PsASPG expression controls timing of re-allocated N utilization in hypocotyls of pine seedlings

  • Rafael A. Cañas
  • Fernando de la Torre
  • Francisco M. Cánovas
  • Francisco R. Cantón
Original Article


During pine seed germination, a large amount of N mobilized from the storage proteins is re-allocated in the hypocotyl as free asparagine, as a result of the high levels of asparagine synthetase (AS) encoded by the PsAS1 gene. To determine the role of this re-allocated N reserve, a full-length cDNA encoding l-asparaginase (ASPG) has been cloned from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings and characterized. Like other N-terminal nucleophile hydrolases, pine ASPG requires a post-translational processing to exhibit enzymatic activity. However, in contrast to previous reports on other plant ASPGs, purified recombinant pine ASPG does not undergo autoproteolytic cleavage in vitro. Our results suggest that the processing requires accessory proteins to assist in the proteolysis or in the proper folding before autocleavage in a divalent cation-dependent manner. Sequence comparison analysis revealed that the pine protein is included in the K+-dependent subfamily of plant ASPGs. The expression of the ASPG-encoding gene (PsASPG) was higher in organs with extensive secondary development of the vascular system. The increase in transcript abundance observed at advanced stages of hypocotyl development was concomitant with a decrease of PsAS1 transcript abundance and a remarkable increase in the number of xylem elements and highly lignified cell walls. These results, together with the precise localization of PsASPG transcripts in cells of the cambial region, suggest that the expression of PsAS1 and PsASPG is temporally coordinated, to control the re-allocation of N from seed storage proteins toward the hypocotyl to be later used during early development of secondary vascular system.


Asparagine metabolism l-asparaginase Nitrogen re-allocation Vascular system development Pinus sylvestris 



Expressed sequence tag




Asparagine synthetase






N-terminal nucleophile


Untranslated region


The institute for Genomic Research


Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael A. Cañas
    • 1
  • Fernando de la Torre
    • 1
  • Francisco M. Cánovas
    • 1
  • Francisco R. Cantón
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento Biología Molecular y BioquímicaUniversidad de MálagaMálagaSpain

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