The three aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan are synthesized in the plastids of higher plants. There is, however, biochemical evidence that a cytosolic isoform exists of the enzyme catalysing the first step of that branch of the pathway which is specific for the synthesis of phenylalanine and tyrosine, i.e. chorismate mutase (CM). We now report on the isolation of a cDNA clone encoding a cytosolic CM isozyme from Arabidopsis thaliana that was identified by complementing a CM-deficient Escherichia coli strain. The deduced amino acid sequence of this isozyme was 50% identical to that of a previously isolated plastidic CM, and 41% identical to that of yeast CM. The organ-specific expression patterns of the two CM genes were rather similar, but only the gene encoding the plastidic isozyme was elicitor- and pathogen-inducible. The plastidic CM expressed in E. coli was activated by tryptophan and inhibited by phenylalanine and tyrosine, whereas the cytosolic isozyme was insensitive. The existence of a cytosolic CM isozyme implies that either a cytosolic pathway (partial or complete) for the biosynthesis of phenylalanine and tyrosine exists, or that prephenate, originating from chorismate in the cytosol, is utilized for the synthesis of metabolites other than these two aromatic amino acids.
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Document Type: Research Article
Institute of Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Universitätstrasse 2, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Friedrich Miescher-Institut, PO Box 2543, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
Publication date: November 1, 1996