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Ziegler, J.; Brandt, W.; Geißler, R.; Facchini, P. J.; Removal of Substrate Inhibition and Increase in Maximal Velocity in the Short Chain Dehydrogenase/Reductase Salutaridine Reductase Involved in Morphine Biosynthesis J. Biol. Chem. 284, 26758-26767, (2009) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.030957

Salutaridine reductase (SalR, EC catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of salutaridine to 7(S)-salutaridinol in the biosynthesis of morphine. It belongs to a new, plant-specific class of short-chain dehydrogenases, which are characterized by their monomeric nature and increased length compared with related enzymes. Homology modeling and substrate docking suggested that additional amino acids form a novel α-helical element, which is involved in substrate binding. Site-directed mutagenesis and subsequent studies on enzyme kinetics revealed the importance of three residues in this element for substrate binding. Further replacement of eight additional residues led to the characterization of the entire substrate binding pocket. In addition, a specific role in salutaridine binding by either hydrogen bond formation or hydrophobic interactions was assigned to each amino acid. Substrate docking also revealed an alternative mode for salutaridine binding, which could explain the strong substrate inhibition of SalR. An alternate arrangement of salutaridine in the enzyme was corroborated by the effect of various amino acid substitutions on substrate inhibition. In most cases, the complete removal of substrate inhibition was accompanied by a substantial loss in enzyme activity. However, some mutations greatly reduced substrate inhibition while maintaining or even increasing the maximal velocity. Based on these results, a double mutant of SalR was created that exhibited the complete absence of substrate inhibition and higher activity compared with wild-type SalR.

Schneider, K.; Kienow, L.; Schmelzer, E.; Colby, T.; Bartsch, M.; Miersch, O.; Wasternack, C.; Kombrink, E.; Stuible, H.-P.; A New Type of Peroxisomal Acyl-Coenzyme A Synthetase from Arabidopsis thaliana Has the Catalytic Capacity to Activate Biosynthetic Precursors of Jasmonic Acid J. Biol. Chem. 280, 13962-13972, (2005) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M413578200

Arabidopsis thaliana contains a large number of genes that encode carboxylic acid-activating enzymes, including nine long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetases, four 4-coumarate:CoA ligases (4CL), and 25 4CL-like proteins of unknown biochemical function. Because of their high structural and sequence similarity with bona fide 4CLs and their highly hydrophobic putative substrate-binding pockets, the 4CL-like proteins At4g05160 and At5g63380 were selected for detailed analysis. Following heterologous expression, the purified proteins were subjected to a large scale screen to identify their preferred in vitro substrates. This study uncovered a significant activity of At4g05160 with medium-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids carrying a phenyl substitution, long-chain fatty acids, as well as the jasmonic acid precursors 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid and 3-oxo-2-(2′-pentenyl)-cyclopentane-1-hexanoic acid. The closest homolog of At4g05160, namely At5g63380, showed high activity with long-chain fatty acids and 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, the latter representing the most efficiently converted substrate. By using fluorescent-tagged variants, we demonstrated that both 4CL-like proteins are targeted to leaf peroxisomes. Collectively, these data demonstrate that At4g05160 and At5g63380 have the capacity to contribute to jasmonic acid biosynthesis by initiating the β-oxidative chain shortening of its precursors.

Schilling, S.; Niestroj, A. J.; Rahfeld, J.-U.; Hoffmann, T.; Wermann, M.; Zunkel, K.; Wasternack, C.; Demuth, H.-U.; Identification of Human Glutaminyl Cyclase as a Metalloenzyme J. Biol. Chem. 278, 49773-49779, (2003) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M309077200

Human glutaminyl cyclase (QC) was identified as a metalloenzyme as suggested by the time-dependent inhibition by the heterocyclic chelators 1,10-phenanthroline and dipicolinic acid. The effect of EDTA on QC catalysis was negligible. Inactivated enzyme could be fully restored by the addition of Zn2+ in the presence of equimolar concentrations of EDTA. Little reactivation was observed with Co2+ and Mn2+. Other metal ions such as K+, Ca2+, and Ni2+ were inactive under the same conditions. Additionally, imidazole and imidazole derivatives were identified as competitive inhibitors of QC. An initial structure activity-based inhibitor screening of imidazole-derived compounds revealed potent inhibition of QC by imidazole N-1 derivatives. Subsequent data base screening led to the identification of two highly potent inhibitors, 3-[3-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)propyl]-2-thioxoimidazolidin-4-one and 1,4-bis-(imidazol-1-yl)-methyl-2,5-dimethylbenzene, which exhibited respective Ki values of 818 ± 1 and 295 ± 5 nm. The binding properties of the imidazole derivatives were further analyzed by the pH dependence of QC inhibition. The kinetically obtained pKa values of 6.94 ± 0.02, 6.93 ± 0.03, and 5.60 ± 0.05 for imidazole, methylimidazole, and benzimidazole, respectively, match the values obtained by titrimetric pKa determination, indicating the requirement for an unprotonated nitrogen for binding to QC. Similarly, the pH dependence of the kinetic parameter Km for the QC-catalyzed conversion of H-Gln-7-ami-no-4-methylcoumarin also implies that only N-terminally unprotonated substrate molecules are bound to the active site of the enzyme, whereas turnover is not affected. The results reveal human QC as a metal-dependent transferase, suggesting that the active site-bound metal is a potential site for interaction with novel, highly potent competitive inhibitors.

Gidda, S. K.; Miersch, O.; Levitin, A.; Schmidt, J.; Wasternack, C.; Varin, L.; Biochemical and Molecular Characterization of a Hydroxyjasmonate Sulfotransferase from Arabidopsis thaliana J. Biol. Chem. 278, 17895-17900, (2003) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M211943200

12-Hydroxyjasmonate, also known as tuberonic acid, was first isolated from Solanum tuberosum and was shown to have tuber-inducing properties. It is derived from the ubiquitously occurring jasmonic acid, an important signaling molecule mediating diverse developmental processes and plant defense responses. We report here that the gene AtST2a from Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a hydroxyjasmonate sulfotransferase. The recombinant AtST2a protein was found to exhibit strict specificity for 11- and 12-hydroxyjasmonate with Km values of 50 and 10 μm, respectively. Furthermore, 12-hydroxyjasmonate and its sulfonated derivative are shown to be naturally occurring inA. thaliana. The exogenous application of methyljasmonate to A. thaliana plants led to increased levels of both metabolites, whereas treatment with 12-hydroxyjasmonate led to increased level of 12-hydroxyjasmonate sulfate without affecting the endogenous level of jasmonic acid. AtST2a expression was found to be induced following treatment with methyljasmonate and 12-hydroxyjasmonate. In contrast, the expression of the methyljasmonate-responsive gene Thi2.1, a marker gene in plant defense responses, is not induced upon treatment with 12-hydroxyjasmonate indicating the existence of independent signaling pathways responding to jasmonic acid and 12-hydroxyjasmonic acid. Taken together, the results suggest that the hydroxylation and sulfonation reactions might be components of a pathway that inactivates excess jasmonic acid in plants. Alternatively, the function of AtST2a might be to control the biological activity of 12-hydroxyjasmonic acid.

Ziegler, J.; Stenzel, I.; Hause, B.; Maucher, H.; Hamberg, M.; Grimm, R.; Ganal, M.; Wasternack, C.; Molecular Cloning of Allene Oxide Cyclase J. Biol. Chem. 275, 19132-19138, (2000) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M002133200

Allene oxide cyclase (EC catalyzes the stereospecific cyclization of an unstable allene oxide to (9S,13S)-12-oxo-(10,15Z)-phytodienoic acid, the ultimate precursor of jasmonic acid. This dimeric enzyme has previously been purified, and two almost identical N-terminal peptides were found, suggesting allene oxide cyclase to be a homodimeric protein. Furthermore, the native protein was N-terminally processed. Using degenerate primers, a polymerase chain reaction fragment could be generated from tomato, which was further used to isolate a full-length cDNA clone of 1 kilobase pair coding for a protein of 245 amino acids with a molecular mass of 26 kDa. Whereas expression of the whole coding region failed to detect allene oxide cyclase activity, a 5′-truncated protein showed high activity, suggesting that additional amino acids impair the enzymatic function. Steric analysis of the 12-oxophytodienoic acid formed by the recombinant enzyme revealed exclusive (>99%) formation of the 9S,13Senantiomer. Exclusive formation of this enantiomer was also found in wounded tomato leaves. Southern analysis and genetic mapping revealed the existence of a single gene for allene oxide cyclase located on chromosome 2 of tomato. Inspection of the N terminus revealed the presence of a chloroplastic transit peptide, and the location of allene oxide cyclase protein in that compartment could be shown by immunohistochemical methods. Concomitant with the jasmonate levels, the accumulation of allene oxide cyclase mRNA was transiently induced after wounding of tomato leaves.

Feussner, I.; Balkenhohl, T. J.; Porzel, A.; Kühn, H.; Wasternack, C.; Structural Elucidation of Oxygenated Storage Lipids in Cucumber Cotyledons J. Biol. Chem. 272, 21635-21641, (1997) DOI: 10.1074/jbc.272.34.21635

At early stages of germination, a special lipoxygenase is expressed in cotyledons of cucumber and several other plants. This enzyme is localized at the lipid storage organelles and oxygenates their storage triacylglycerols. We have isolated this lipid body lipoxygenase from cucumber seedlings and found that it is capable of oxygenating in vitro di- and trilinolein to the corresponding mono-, di-, and trihydroperoxy derivatives. To investigate the in vivo activity of this enzyme during germination, lipid bodies were isolated from cucumber seedlings at different stages of germination, and the triacylglycerols were analyzed for oxygenated derivatives by a combination of high pressure liquid chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We identified as major oxygenation products triacylglycerols that contained one, two, or three 13S-hydroperoxy-9(Z),11(E)-octadecadienoic acid residues. During germination, the amount of oxygenated lipids increased strongly, reaching a maximum after 72 h and declining afterward. The highly specific pattern of hydroperoxy lipids formed suggested the involvement of the lipid body lipoxygenase in their biosynthesis.These data suggest that this lipoxygenase may play an important role during the germination process of cucumber and other plants and support our previous hypothesis that the specific oxygenation of the storage lipids may initiate their mobilization as a carbon and energy source for the growing seedling.
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