Enhanced flux of substrates into polyamine biosynthesis but not ethylene in tomato fruit engineered with yeast S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase gene


S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), a major substrate in 1-C metabolism is a common precursor in the biosynthetic pathways of polyamines and ethylene, two important plant growth regulators, which exhibit opposing developmental effects, especially during fruit ripening. However, the flux of various substrates including SAM into the two competing pathways in plants has not yet been characterized. We used radiolabeled 14C-Arg, 14C-Orn, L-[U-14C]Met, 14C-SAM and 14C-Put to quantify flux through these pathways in tomato fruit and evaluate the effects of perturbing these pathways via transgenic expression of a yeast SAM decarboxylase (ySAMDC) gene using the fruit ripening-specific promoter E8. We show that polyamines in tomato fruit are synthesized both from Arg and Orn; however, the relative contribution of Orn pathway declines in the later stages of ripening. Expression of ySAMDC reversed the ripening associated decline in spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) levels observed in the azygous control fruit. About 2- to 3-fold higher levels of labeled-Spd in transgenic fruit (556HO and 579HO lines) expressing ySAMDC confirmed the enzymatic function of the introduced gene. The incorporation of L-[U-14C]Met into Spd, Spm, ethylene and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) was used to determine Met-flux into these metabolites. The incorporation of 14C-Met into Spd/Spm declined during ripening of the control azygous fruit but this was reversed in fruits expressing ySAMDC. However, incorporation of 14C-Met into ethylene or ACC during ripening was not altered by the expression of ySAMDC in the fruit. Taken together these results show that: (1) There is an inverse relationship between the production of higher polyamines and ethylene during fruit ripening, (2) the inverse relationship between higher polyamines and ethylene is modulated by ySAMDC expression in that the decline in Spd/Spm during fruit ripening can be reversed without significantly altering ethylene biosynthesis, and (3) cellular flux of SAM in plants is homeostatically regulated based on its demand for competing pathways.

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Amino Acids



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© Springer-Verlag Wien (outside the USA) 2013