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1.  Triple subcellular targeting of isopentenyl diphosphate isomerases encoded by a single gene 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2012;7(11):1495-1497.
Isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase (IDI) is a key enzyme of the isoprenoid pathway, catalyzing the interconversion of isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate, the universal precursors of all isoprenoids. In plants, several subcellular compartments, including cytosol/ER, peroxisomes, mitochondria and plastids, are involved in isoprenoid biosynthesis. Here, we report on the unique triple targeting of two Catharanthus roseus IDI isoforms encoded by a single gene (CrIDI1). The triple localization of CrIDI1 in mitochondria, plastids and peroxisomes is explained by alternative transcription initiation of CrIDI1, by the specificity of a bifunctional N-terminal mitochondria/plastid transit peptide and by the presence of a C-terminal peroxisomal targeting signal. Moreover, bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays revealed self-interactions suggesting that the IDI likely acts as a multimer in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3548878  PMID: 22951398
isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase; isoprenoid; alkaloid; triple targeting; subcellular localization; Catharanthus roseus
2.  Subcellular evidence for the involvement of peroxisomes in plant isoprenoid biosynthesis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(12):2044-2046.
The role of peroxisomes in isoprenoid metabolism, especially in plants, has been questioned in several reports. A recent study of Sapir-Mir et al.1 revealed that the two isoforms of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) isomerase, catalyzing the isomerisation of IPP to dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) are found in the peroxisome. In this addendum, we provide additional data describing the peroxisomal localization of 5-phosphomevalonate kinase and mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase, the last two enzymes of the mevalonic acid pathway leading to IPP.2 This finding was reinforced in our latest report showing that a short isoform of farnesyl diphosphate, using IPP and DMAPP as substrates, is also targeted to the organelle.3 Therefore, the classical sequestration of isoprenoid biosynthesis between plastids and cytosol/ER can be revisited by including the peroxisome as an additional isoprenoid biosynthetic compartment within plant cells.
PMCID: PMC3337203  PMID: 22080790
5-phosphomevalonate kinase; Arabidopsis thaliana; Catharanthus roseus; farnesyl diphosphate synthase; isoprenoid; mevalonate 5-diphosphate decarboxylase; mevalonic acid pathway; peroxisome
3.  Differences in the Rumen Methanogen Populations of Lactating Jersey and Holstein Dairy Cows under the Same Diet Regimen▿† 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(16):5682-5687.
In the dairy cattle industry, Holstein and Jersey are the breeds most commonly used for production. They differ in performance by various traits, such as body size, milk production, and milk composition. With increased concerns about the impact of agriculture on climate change, potential differences in other traits, such as methane emission, also need to be characterized further. Since methane is produced in the rumen by methanogenic archaea, we investigated whether the population structure of methanogen communities would differ between Holsteins and Jerseys. Breed-specific rumen methanogen 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from pooled PCR products obtained from lactating Holstein and Jersey cows, generating 180 and 185 clones, respectively. The combined 365 sequences were assigned to 55 species-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Twenty OTUs, representing 85% of the combined library sequences, were common to both breeds, while 23 OTUs (36 sequences) were found only in the Holstein library and 12 OTUs (18 sequences) were found only in the Jersey library, highlighting increased diversity in the Holstein library. Other differences included the observation that sequences with species-like sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were represented more highly in the Jersey breed, while Methanosphaera-related sequences and novel uncultured methanogen clones were more frequent in the Holstein library. In contrast, OTU sequences with species-level sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium were represented similarly in both libraries. Since the sampled animals were from a single herd consisting of two breeds which were fed the same diet and maintained under the same environmental conditions, the differences we observed may be due to differences in host breed genetics.
PMCID: PMC3165256  PMID: 21705541
4.  Molecular analysis of methanogenic archaea in the forestomach of the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:1.
Methanogens that populate the gastrointestinal tract of livestock ruminants contribute significantly to methane emissions from the agriculture industry. There is a great need to analyze archaeal microbiomes from a broad range of host species in order to establish causal relationships between the structure of methanogen communities and their potential for methane emission. In this report, we present an investigation of methanogenic archaeal populations in the foregut of alpacas.
We constructed individual 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from five sampled animals and recovered a total of 947 sequences which were assigned to 51 species-level OTUs. Individuals were found to each have between 21 and 27 OTUs, of which two to six OTUs were unique. As reported in other host species, Methanobrevibacter was the dominant genus in the alpaca, representing 88.3% of clones. However, the alpaca archaeal microbiome was different from other reported host species, as clones showing species-level identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were the most abundant.
From our analysis, we propose a model to describe the population structure of Methanobrevibacter-related methanogens in the alpaca and in previously reported host species, which may contribute in unraveling the complexity of symbiotic archaeal communities in herbivores.
PMCID: PMC3292460  PMID: 22221383
5.  Strictosidine activation in Apocynaceae: towards a "nuclear time bomb"? 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:182.
The first two enzymatic steps of monoterpene indole alkaloid (MIA) biosynthetic pathway are catalysed by strictosidine synthase (STR) that condensates tryptamine and secologanin to form strictosidine and by strictosidine β-D-glucosidase (SGD) that subsequently hydrolyses the glucose moiety of strictosidine. The resulting unstable aglycon is rapidly converted into a highly reactive dialdehyde, from which more than 2,000 MIAs are derived. Many studies were conducted to elucidate the biosynthesis and regulation of pharmacologically valuable MIAs such as vinblastine and vincristine in Catharanthus roseus or ajmaline in Rauvolfia serpentina. However, very few reports focused on the MIA physiological functions.
In this study we showed that a strictosidine pool existed in planta and that the strictosidine deglucosylation product(s) was (were) specifically responsible for in vitro protein cross-linking and precipitation suggesting a potential role for strictosidine activation in plant defence. The spatial feasibility of such an activation process was evaluated in planta. On the one hand, in situ hybridisation studies showed that CrSTR and CrSGD were coexpressed in the epidermal first barrier of C. roseus aerial organs. However, a combination of GFP-imaging, bimolecular fluorescence complementation and electromobility shift-zymogram experiments revealed that STR from both C. roseus and R. serpentina were localised to the vacuole whereas SGD from both species were shown to accumulate as highly stable supramolecular aggregates within the nucleus. Deletion and fusion studies allowed us to identify and to demonstrate the functionality of CrSTR and CrSGD targeting sequences.
A spatial model was drawn to explain the role of the subcellular sequestration of STR and SGD to control the MIA metabolic flux under normal physiological conditions. The model also illustrates the possible mechanism of massive activation of the strictosidine vacuolar pool upon enzyme-substrate reunion occurring during potential herbivore feeding constituting a so-called "nuclear time bomb" in reference to the "mustard oil bomb" commonly used to describe the myrosinase-glucosinolate defence system in Brassicaceae.
PMCID: PMC3095312  PMID: 20723215
6.  Conserved and specific functions of mammalian ssu72 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(2):464-477.
We describe the cloning and characterization of a human homolog of the yeast transcription/RNA-processing factor Ssu72, following a yeast two-hybrid screen for pRb-binding factors in the prostate gland. Interaction between hSsu72 and pRb was observed in transfected mammalian cells and involved multiple domains in pRb; however, so far, mutual effects of these two factors could not be demonstrated. Like the yeast counterpart, mammalian Ssu72 associates with TFIIB and the yeast cleavage/polyadenylation factor Pta1, and exhibits intrinsic phosphatase activity. Mammals contain a single ssu72 gene and a few pseudogenes. During mouse embryogenesis, ssu72 was highly expressed in the nervous system and intestine; high expression in the nervous system persisted in adult mice and was also readily observed in multiple human tumor cell lines. Both endogenous and ectopically expressed mammalian Ssu72 proteins resided primarily in the cytoplasm and only partly in the nucleus. Interestingly, fusion to a strong nuclear localization signal conferred nuclear localization only in a fraction of transfected cells, suggesting active tethering in the cytoplasm. Suppression of ssu72 expression in mammalian cells by siRNA did not reduce proliferation/survival, and its over-expression did not affect transcription of candidate genes in transient reporter assays. Despite high conservation, hssu72 was unable to rescue an ssu72 lethal mutation in yeast. Together, our results highlight conserved and mammalian specific characteristics of mammalian ssu72.
PMCID: PMC548335  PMID: 15659578

Results 1-6 (6)