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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The metabolism of glutamate into ornithine, arginine, proline, and polyamines is a major network of nitrogen-metabolizing pathways in plants, which also produces intermediates like nitric oxide, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that play critical roles in plant development and stress. While the accumulations of intermediates and the products of this network depend primarily on nitrogen assimilation, the overall regulation of the interacting sub-pathways is not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that diversion of ornithine into polyamine biosynthesis (by transgenic approach) not only plays a role in regulating its own biosynthesis from glutamate but also affects arginine and proline biosynthesis. Using two high putrescine producing lines of Arabidopsis thaliana (containing a transgenic mouse ornithine decarboxylase gene), we studied the: (1) effects of exogenous supply of carbon and nitrogen on polyamines and pools of soluble amino acids; and, (2) expression of genes encoding key enzymes in the interactive pathways of arginine, proline and GABA biosynthesis as well as the catabolism of polyamines. Our findings suggest that: (1) the overall conversion of glutamate to arginine and polyamines is enhanced by increased utilization of ornithine for polyamine biosynthesis by the transgene product; (2) proline and arginine biosynthesis are regulated independently of polyamines and GABA biosynthesis; (3) the expression of most genes (28 that were studied) that encode enzymes of the interacting sub-pathways of arginine and GABA biosynthesis does not change even though overall biosynthesis of Orn from glutamate is increased several fold; and (4) increased polyamine biosynthesis results in increased assimilation of both nitrogen and carbon by the cells.

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Frontiers in Plant Science



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Copyright © 2016 Majumdar, Barchi, Turlapati, Gagne, Minocha, Long and Minocha.


This is an article published by Frontiers in Frontiers in Plant Science in 2016, available online: