The methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway synthesizes the precursors for an astonishing diversity of plastid isoprenoids, including the major photosynthetic pigments chlorophylls and carotenoids. Since the identification of the first two enzymes of the pathway, deoxyxylulose 5-phoshate (DXP) synthase (DXS) and DXP reductoisomerase (DXR), they both were proposed as potential control points. Increased DXS activity has been shown to up-regulate the production of plastid isoprenoids in all systems tested, but the relative contribution of DXR to the supply of isoprenoid precursors is less clear. In this work, we have generated transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants with altered DXS and DXR enzyme levels, as estimated from their resistance to clomazone and fosmidomycin, respectively. The down-regulation of DXR resulted in variegation, reduced pigmentation and defects in chloroplast development, whereas DXR-overexpressing lines showed an increased accumulation of MEP- derived plastid isoprenoids such as chlorophylls, carotenoids, and taxadiene in transgenic plants engineered to produce this non-native isoprenoid. Changes in DXR levels in transgenic plants did not result in changes in␣DXS gene expression or enzyme accumulation, confirming that the observed effects on plastid isoprenoid levels in DXR-overexpressing lines were not an indirect consequence of altering DXS levels. The results indicate that the biosynthesis of MEP (the first committed intermediate of the pathway) limits the production of downstream isoprenoids in Arabidopsis chloroplasts, supporting a role for DXR in the control of the metabolic flux through the MEP pathway.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 29, 2006
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