Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant enzymes reveal complex secrets

12.03.2012
Biologists are uncovering intricate pathways underlying the chemical modification of a functionally important class of plant molecules
The enzymes needed for producing and chemically modifying functionally important plant molecules called anthocyanins have been identified by a research team led by Kazuki Saito of the RIKEN Plant Science Center, Yokohama.

Anthocyanins belong to a class of organic compounds called flavonoids, which are naturally produced by plants. Defined as secondary metabolites, which have various functions, they are not required directly for development, growth or reproduction. As pigments, they produce some of the colors that flowers need to attract insect pollinators. Others protect against damaging ultraviolet light or defend against plant diseases. The flavonoids secreted from the roots of legumes, such as peas, facilitate interactions with soil microbes that are ultimately beneficial for plant growth. Many of the flavonoids ingested by humans promote good health, or even protect against cancer.

“The biosynthetic pathways that give rise to flavonoids are complex, involving multiple enzymes,” says Saito. “These enzymes are encoded by multi-gene families, making it difficult to elucidate their precise physiological functions.”

Saito’s team set out to identify genes involved in flavonoid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana, a species often used as an experimental model in plant genetics. The availability of the complete genome sequence of Arabidopsis has allowed the development of ‘omics’-based databases and bio-resources. “Just as the genome contains information about all of the plant’s genes, the proteome and transcriptome contain information about protein and gene expression, respectively, whereas the metabolome signifies metabolites, including secondary metabolites such as flavonoids,” explains Saito.

Taking advantage of this information, and using sophisticated genetic and analytical techniques, Saito and colleagues found that the genes UGT79B1 and UGT84A2, which encode enzymes called UDP-dependent glycosyltransferases (UGTs), clustered with other genes involved in producing anthocyanins. When they deleted the UGT79B1 gene in Arabidopsis plants, they found it drastically reduced anthocyanin production. Further experiments, using genetically engineered UGT79B1, allowed them to uncover the precise biochemical function of the UGT79B1 enzyme, including its substrate specificity.

The UGT84A2 gene was already known to encode an enzyme that attaches glucose to a molecule called sinapic acid—a building block of anthocyanin sinapoylation, which is a chemically modified type of the anthocyanin molecule. Saito and colleagues experiments revealed that the level of sinapoylated anthocyanin was greatly reduced in mutants lacking the UGT84A2 gene.

The researchers were also able to study the evolutionary relationships of the UGT enzymes in various plant species. “Our work provides a ‘roadmap’ for anthocyanin modification routes in Arabidopsis and other plants,” says Saito.


Yonekura-Sakakibara, K., Fukushima, A., Nakabayashi, R., Hanada, K., Matsuda, F., Sugawara, S., Inoue, E., Kuromori, T., Ito, T., Shinozaki, K., et al. Two glycosyltransferases involved in anthocyanin modification delineated by transcriptome independent component analysis in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal 69, 154–167 (2012).

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>