Functional Characterization of a Melon Alcohol Acyl-transferase Gene Family Involved in the Biosynthesis of Ester Volatiles. Identification of the Crucial Role of a Threonine Residue for Enzyme Activity*

Functional Characterization of a Melon Alcohol Acyl-transferase Gene Family Involved in the... Volatile esters, a major class of compounds contributing to the aroma of many fruit, are synthesized by alcohol acyl-transferases (AAT). We demonstrate here that, in Charentais melon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis), AAT are encoded by a gene family of at least four members with amino acid identity ranging from 84% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT2) and 58% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT3) to only 22% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT4). All encoded proteins, except Cm-AAT2, were enzymatically active upon expression in yeast and show differential substrate preferences. Cm-AAT1 protein produces a wide range of short and long-chain acyl esters but has strong preference for the formation of E-2-hexenyl acetate and hexyl hexanoate. Cm-AAT3 also accepts a wide range of substrates but with very strong preference for producing benzyl acetate. Cm-AAT4 is almost exclusively devoted to the formation of acetates, with strong preference for cinnamoyl acetate. Site directed mutagenesis demonstrated that the failure of Cm-AAT2 to produce volatile esters is related to the presence of a 268-alanine residue instead of threonine as in all active AAT proteins. Mutating 268-A into 268-T of Cm-AAT2 restored enzyme activity, while mutating 268-T into 268-A abolished activity of Cm-AAT1. Activities of all three proteins measured with the prefered substrates sharply increase during fruit ripening. The expression of all Cm-AAT genes is up-regulated during ripening and inhibited in antisense ACC oxidase melons and in fruit treated with the ethylene antagonist 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), indicating a positive regulation by ethylene. The data presented in this work suggest that the multiplicity of AAT genes accounts for the great diversity of esters formed in melon. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Plant Molecular Biology Springer Journals

Functional Characterization of a Melon Alcohol Acyl-transferase Gene Family Involved in the Biosynthesis of Ester Volatiles. Identification of the Crucial Role of a Threonine Residue for Enzyme Activity*

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by Springer
Subject
Life Sciences; Biochemistry, general; Plant Sciences; Plant Pathology
ISSN
0167-4412
eISSN
1573-5028
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11103-005-8884-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Volatile esters, a major class of compounds contributing to the aroma of many fruit, are synthesized by alcohol acyl-transferases (AAT). We demonstrate here that, in Charentais melon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis), AAT are encoded by a gene family of at least four members with amino acid identity ranging from 84% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT2) and 58% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT3) to only 22% (Cm-AAT1/Cm-AAT4). All encoded proteins, except Cm-AAT2, were enzymatically active upon expression in yeast and show differential substrate preferences. Cm-AAT1 protein produces a wide range of short and long-chain acyl esters but has strong preference for the formation of E-2-hexenyl acetate and hexyl hexanoate. Cm-AAT3 also accepts a wide range of substrates but with very strong preference for producing benzyl acetate. Cm-AAT4 is almost exclusively devoted to the formation of acetates, with strong preference for cinnamoyl acetate. Site directed mutagenesis demonstrated that the failure of Cm-AAT2 to produce volatile esters is related to the presence of a 268-alanine residue instead of threonine as in all active AAT proteins. Mutating 268-A into 268-T of Cm-AAT2 restored enzyme activity, while mutating 268-T into 268-A abolished activity of Cm-AAT1. Activities of all three proteins measured with the prefered substrates sharply increase during fruit ripening. The expression of all Cm-AAT genes is up-regulated during ripening and inhibited in antisense ACC oxidase melons and in fruit treated with the ethylene antagonist 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), indicating a positive regulation by ethylene. The data presented in this work suggest that the multiplicity of AAT genes accounts for the great diversity of esters formed in melon.

Journal

Plant Molecular BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 17, 2005

References

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