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Free Content Overexpression of Arabidopsis thaliana farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPS1S) in transgenic Arabidopsis induces a cell death/senescence-like response and reduced cytokinin levels

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To investigate the contribution of farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPS) to the overall control of the mevalonic acid pathway in plants, we have generated transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana overexpressing the Arabidopsis FPS1S isoform. Despite high levels of FPS activity in transgenic plants (8- to 12-fold as compared to wild-type plants), the content of sterols and the levels of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity in leaves were similar to those in control plants. Plants overexpressing FPS1S showed a cell death/senescence-like phenotype and grew less vigorously than wild-type plants. The onset and the severity of these phenotypes directly correlated with the levels of FPS activity. In leaves of plants with increased FPS activity, the expression of the senescence activated gene SAG12 was prematurely induced. Transgenic plants grown in the presence of either mevalonic acid (MVA) or the cytokinin 2-isopentenyladenine (2-iP) recovered the wild-type phenotype. Quantification of endogenous cytokinins demonstrated that FPS1S overexpression specifically reduces the levels of endogenous zeatin-type cytokinins in leaves. Altogether these results support the notion that increasing FPS activity without a concomitant increase of MVA production leads to a reduction of IPP and DMAPP available for cytokinin biosynthesis. The reduced cytokinin levels would be, at least in part, responsible for the phenotypic alterations observed in the transgenic plants. The finding that wild-type and transgenic plants accumulated similar increased amounts of sterols when grown in the presence of exogenous MVA suggests that FPS1S is not limiting for sterol biosynthesis.
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Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; cytokinin; farnesyl diphosphate synthase; isoprenoid; mevalonic acid; senescence

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avinguda, Diagonal 643, 08028-Barcelona, Spain. 2: Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, Département d'Enzymologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, UPR 406 du CNRS, 28 rue Goethe, 67083 Strasbourg Cédex, France. 3: Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Oviedo, c/Catedrático Rodrigo Uría s/n, 33071-Oviedo, Spain. 4: Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Química, Universitat de Barcelona, c. Martí i Franquès 1, 08028-Barcelona, Spain.

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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