Quinolate acid phosphoribosyltransferase (QPRTase), a key enzyme in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) biosynthesis, also plays an important role in ensuring nicotinic acid is available for the synthesis of defensive pyridine alkaloids in Nicotiana species. In this study, cDNAs for QPRTase were characterized from N. rustica and N. tabacum. Deduced proteins from both cDNAs are almost identical and contain a 24 amino acid N-terminal extension, not reported in other QPRTases, that has characteristics of a mitochondrial targeting sequence. In N. tabacum and N. sylvestris, both of which contain nicotine as the major pyridine alkaloid, QPRTase transcript was detected in roots, the site of nicotine synthesis, but not in leaves. QPRTase transcript levels increased markedly in roots of both species 12–24 h after damage to aerial tissues, with a concomitant rise in transcript levels of putrescine N-methyltransferase (PMT), another key enzyme in nicotine biosynthesis. In N. glauca, however, in which anabasine represents the major pyridine alkaloid, QPRTase transcript was detected in both leaf and root tissues. Moreover, wound induction of QPRTase but not PMT was observed in leaf tissues, and not in roots, 12–24 h after wounding. Southern analysis of genomic DNA from the Nicotiana species noted above, and also several others from within the genus, suggested that QPRTase is encoded by a small gene family in all the species investigated.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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