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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The catabolic function of the alpha-aminoadipic acid pathway in plants is associated with unidirectional activity of lysine-oxoglutarate reductase, but not saccharopine dehydrogenase.

Whereas plants and animals use the alpha-aminoadipic acid pathway to catabolize lysine, yeast and fungi use the very same pathway to synthesize lysine. These two groups of organisms also possess structurally distinct forms of two enzymes in this pathway, namely lysine-oxoglutarate reductase (lysine-ketoglutarate reductase; LKR) and saccharopine dehydrogenase (SDH): in plants and animals these enzymes are linked on to a single bifunctional polypeptide, while in yeast and fungi they exist as separate entities. In addition, yeast LKR and SDH possess bi-directional activities, and their anabolic function is regulated by complex transcriptional and post-transcriptional controls, which apparently ascertain differential accumulation of intermediate metabolites; in plants, the regulation of the catabolic function of these two enzymes is not known. To elucidate the regulation of the catabolic function of plant bifunctional LKR/SDH enzymes, we have used yeast as an expression system to test whether a plant LKR/SDH also possesses bi-directional LKR and SDH activities, similar to the yeast enzymes. The Arabidopsis enzyme complemented a yeast SDH, but not LKR, null mutant. Identical results were obtained when deletion mutants encoding only the LKR or SDH domains of this bifunctional polypeptide were expressed individually in the yeast cells. Moreover, activity assays showed that the Arabidopsis LKR possessed catabolic, but not anabolic, activity, and its uni-directional activity stems from its structure rather than its linkage to SDH. Our results suggest that the uni-directional activity of LKR plays an important role in regulating the catabolic function of the alpha-amino adipic acid pathway in plants.[1]


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