Scots pine aminopropyltransferases shed new light on evolution of the polyamine biosynthesis pathway in seed plants

Abstract : Background and Aims Polyamines are small metabolites present in all living cells and play fundamental roles in numerous physiological events in plants. The aminopropyltransferases (APTs), spermidine synthase (SPDS), spermine synthase (SPMS) and thermospermine synthase (ACL5), are essential enzymes in the polyamine biosynthesis pathway. In angiosperms, SPMS has evolved from SPDS via gene duplication, whereas in gymnosperms APTs are mostly unexplored and no SPMS gene has been reported. The present study aimed to investigate the functional properties of the SPDS and ACL5 proteins of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in order to elucidate the role and evolution of APTs in higher plants. Methods Germinating Scots pine seeds and seedlings were analysed for polyamines by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the expression of PsSPDS and PsACL5 genes by in situ hybridization. Recombinant proteins of PsSPDS and PsACL5 were produced and investigated for functional properties. Also gene structures, promoter regions and phylogenetic relationships of PsSPDS and PsACL5 genes were analysed. Key Results Scots pine tissues were found to contain spermidine, spermine and thermospermine. PsSPDS enzyme catalysed synthesis of both spermidine and spermine. PsACL5 was found to produce thermospermine, and PsACL5 gene expression was localized in the developing procambium in embryos and tracheary elements in seedlings. Conclusions Contrary to previous views, our results demonstrate that SPMS activity is not a novel feature developed solely in the angiosperm lineage of seed plants but also exists as a secondary property in the Scots pine SPDS enzyme. The discovery of bifunctional SPDS from an evolutionarily old conifer reveals the missing link in the evolution of the polyamine biosynthesis pathway. The finding emphasizes the importance of pre-existing secondary functions in the evolution of new enzyme activities via gene duplication. Our results also associate PsACL5 with the development of vascular structures in Scots pine.
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Jaana Vuosku, Katja Karppinen, Riina Muilu-Mäkelä, Tomonobu Kusano, G Sagor, et al.. Scots pine aminopropyltransferases shed new light on evolution of the polyamine biosynthesis pathway in seed plants. Annals of Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018, ⟨10.1093/aob/mcy012⟩. ⟨hal-01741986⟩



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