Biochemical complementation of the betalain biosynthetic pathway in Portulaca grandiflora by a fungal 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine dioxygenase
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3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) dioxygenase from Amanitamuscaria catalyses the key reaction of betalain biosynthesis, namely the conversion of DOPA to betalamic acid by a 4,5-ring-opening reaction. In addition, it catalyses a 2,3 opening which yields the fungal pigment muscaflavin, a compound that has never been found in plants. In this work, a cDNA clone (DodA) encoding A. muscaria DOPA-dioxygenase was expressed in white Portulacagrandiflora petals, using the particle bombardment technique. Transformation resulted in the formation of yellow and violet spots that contained betalain pigments and muscaflavin, indicating that the fungal enzyme was expressed and active in plants, and could complement the plant betalain biosynthetic pathway. The presence of muscaflavin in transformed plants indicates a difference in the specificity of the plant and A.muscaria enzymes.
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