Arabidopsis thaliana possesses six branched-chain aminotransferases (BCAT1–6). Previous studies revealed that some members of this protein family are involved in the biosynthesis of branched-chain amino acids and/or in the Met chain elongation pathway, the initial steps towards the biosynthesis of Met-derived glucosinolates. We now analyzed branched-chain aminotransferase 6 (BCAT6). In vivo GFP-tagging experiments strongly suggest this enzyme to be localized to the cytosol. Substrate specificity assays performed with recombinant enzyme revealed that BCAT6 transaminates Val, Leu and Ile as well as the corresponding 2-oxo acids but also transaminates Met and its cognate ketoacid 4-methyl-2-oxobutanoate. We established single (bcat6-1), double (bcat4-2/bcat6-1) and triple (bcat3-1/bcat4-2/bcat6-1) mutants involving BCAT6 with the latter exhibiting a clear macroscopic phenotype with smaller plants and abnormal leaf morphology. Metabolite profiling of these mutants demonstrated that BCAT6 can contribute to Met chain elongation with the triple mutant line lacking BCAT3, 4 and 6 showing a dramatic reduction of Met-derived glucosinolate species down to 32 and 14 % of wild-type levels in plant foliage and seeds, respectively. This drop in glucosinolate levels is accompanied by a 46-fold increase of free Met, demonstrating the important role of the three branched-chain aminotransferases in converting Met to its 2-oxo acid for glucosinolate chain elongation. In addition, we determined the relative amounts of 5′-deoxy-5′-methylthioadenosine, an intermediate of the Met recycling pathway. This metabolite accumulated to relative high amounts in the absence of the cytosolic BCAT4 and BCAT6, suggesting that cytosolic Met salvage also contributes to the biosynthesis of glucosinolates.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 8, 2015
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