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Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) plays an important role in various biological processes; however, its role in plant secondary metabolism, especially in the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids (TAs) such as pharmaceutical hyoscyamine, anisodamine and scopolamine, remains largely unknown. In this study, we characterized the physiological and metabolic functions of the ODC gene of Atropa belladonna (AbODC) and determined its role in TA production using metabolic engineering approaches. Feeding assays with enzyme inhibitors indicated that ODC, rather than arginine decarboxylase (ADC), plays a major role in TA biosynthesis. Tissue-specific AbODC expression analysis and -glucuronidase (GUS) staining assays showed that AbODC was highly expressed in secondary roots, especially in the cylinder tissue. Enzymatic assays indicated that AbODC was able to convert ornithine to putrescine, with the highest activity at pH 8.0 and 30C. Additionally, AbODC showed higher catalytic efficiency than other plant ODCs, as evident from the Km, Vmax and Kcat values of AbODC using ornithine as the substrate. In A. belladonna root cultures, suppression of AbODC greatly reduced the production of putrescine, N-methylputrescine and TAs, whereas overexpression of AbODC significantly increased the biosynthesis of putrescine, N-methylputrescine, hyoscyamine and anisodamine. Moreover, transgenic A. belladonna plants overexpressing AbODC showed a significantly higher production of hyoscyamine and anisodamine compared with control plants. These findings indicate that AbODC plays a key role in TA biosynthesis and therefore is a valuable candidate for increasing TA production in A. belladonna.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS synthetic biology
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Methods and techniques used to modify or select cells and develop conditions for growing cells for biosynthetic production of molecules (METABOLIC ENGINEERING), for generation of tissue structures and organs in vitro (TISSUE ENGINEERING), or for other BIOENGINEERING research objectives.
A urea cycle enzyme that catalyzes the formation of orthophosphate and L-citrulline (CITRULLINE) from CARBAMOYL PHOSPHATE and L-ornithine (ORNITHINE). Deficiency of this enzyme may be transmitted as an X-linked trait. EC 18.104.22.168.
A ureahydrolase that catalyzes the hydrolysis of arginine or canavanine to yield L-ornithine (ORNITHINE) and urea. Deficiency of this enzyme causes HYPERARGININEMIA. EC 22.214.171.124.
Substances and drugs that inhibit or block the activity of ORNITHINE DECARBOXYLASE.
A pyridoxal phosphate enzyme that catalyzes the formation of glutamate gamma-semialdehyde and an L-amino acid from L-ornithine and a 2-keto-acid. EC 126.96.36.199.
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Immunoassay - ELISA
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