Short-chain isoprenyl diphosphate synthases of lavender (Lavandula)
We reported the functional characterization of cDNAs encoding short-chain isoprenyl diphosphate synthases that control the partitioning of precursors for lavender terpenoids.
Lavender essential oil is composed of regular and irregular monoterpenes, which are derived from linear precursors geranyl diphosphate (GPP) and lavandulyl diphosphate (LPP), respectively. Although this plant strongly expresses genes responsible for the biosynthesis of both monoterpene classes, it is unclear why regular monoterpenes dominate the oil. Here, we cloned and characterized Lavandula x intermedia cDNAs encoding geranyl diphosphate synthase (LiGPPS), geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (LiGGPPS) and farnesyl diphosphate synthase (LiFPPS). LiGPPS was heteromeric protein, consisting of a large subunit (LiGPPS.LSU) and a small subunit for which two different cDNAs (LiGPPS.SSU1 and LiGPPS.SSU2) were detected. Neither recombinant LiGPPS subunits was active by itself. However, when co-expressed in E. coli LiGPPS.LSU and LiGPPS.SSU1 formed an active heteromeric GPPS, while LiGPPS.LSU and LiGPPS.SSU2 did not form an active protein. Recombinant LiGGPPS, LiFPPS and LPP synthase (LPPS) proteins were active individually. Further, LiGPPS.SSU1 modified the activity of LiGGPPS (to produce GPP) in bacterial cells co-expressing both proteins. Given this, and previous evidence indicating that GPPS.SSU can modify the activity of GGPPS to GPPS in vitro and in plants, we hypothesized that LiGPPS.SSU1 modifies the activity of L. x intermedia LPP synthase (LiLPPS), thus accounting for the relatively low abundance of LPP-derived irregular monoterpenes in this plant. However, LiGPPS.SSU1 did not affect the activity of LiLPPS. These results, coupled to the observation that LiLPPS transcripts are more abundant than those of GPPS subunits in L. x intermedia flowers, suggest that regulatory mechanisms other than transcriptional control of LPPS regulate precursor partitioning in lavender flowers.
KeywordsGeranyl diphosphate synthase Lavandula Precursor partitioning Regular monoterpenes Terpenoids
This work was supported through grants and/or in-kind contributions to SSM by UBC, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We thank Dr. I. Hwang, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea for kindly providing p326::sGFP construct DNA; Dr. Julien Gibon (Assistant Prof. at UBC Okanagan) and Dr. Phillip Barker's group for assisting with microscopy.
AMA and SSM conceived and designed the research. AMA conducted all experiments. AMA and SSM wrote and approved the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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