Nicotiana glauca (Argentinean tree tobacco) is atypical within the genus Nicotiana, accumulating predominantly anabasine rather than nicotine and/or nornicotine as the main component of its leaf pyridine alkaloid fraction. The current study examines the role of the A622 gene from N. glauca (NgA622) in alkaloid production and utilises an RNAi approach to down-regulate gene expression and diminish levels of A622 protein in transgenic tissues. Results indicate that RNAi-mediated reduction in A622 transcript levels markedly reduces the capacity of N. glauca to produce anabasine resulting in plants with scarcely any pyridine alkaloids in leaf tissues, even after damage to apical tissues. In addition, analysis of hairy roots containing the NgA622-RNAi construct shows a substantial reduction in both anabasine and nicotine levels within these tissues, even if stimulated with methyl jasmonate, indicating a role for the A622 enzyme in the synthesis of both alkaloids in roots of N. glauca. Feeding of Nicotinic Acid (NA) to hairy roots of N. glauca containing the NgA622-RNAi construct did not restore capacity for synthesis of anabasine or nicotine. Moreover, treatment of these hairy root lines with NA did not lead to an increase in anatabine levels, unlike controls. Together, these results strongly suggest that A622 is an integral component of the final enzyme complex responsible for biosynthesis of all three pyridine alkaloids in Nicotiana.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 2008
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