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

Regulation of plant arginase by wounding, jasmonate, and the phytotoxin coronatine.

In mammalian cells, induced expression of arginase in response to wound trauma and pathogen infection plays an important role in regulating the metabolism of L-arginine to either polyamines or nitric oxide (NO). In higher plants, which also utilize arginine for the production of polyamines and NO, the potential role of arginase as a control point for arginine homeostasis has not been investigated. Here, we report the characterization of two genes (LeARG1 and LeARG2) from Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) that encode arginase. Phylogenic analysis showed that LeARG1 and -2, like all other plant arginases, are more similar to agmatinase than to arginases from vertebrates, fungi, and bacteria. Nevertheless, recombinant LeARG1 and -2 exhibited specificity for L-arginine over agmatine and related guanidino substrates. The plant enzymes, like mammalian arginases, were inhibited (K(i) approximately 14 microM) by the NO precursor N(G)-hydroxy-L-arginine. These results indicate that plant arginases define a distinct group of ureohydrolases that function as authentic L-arginases. LeARG1 and LeARG2 transcripts accumulated to their highest levels in reproductive tissues. In leaves, LeARG2 expression and arginase activity were induced in response to wounding and treatment with jasmonic acid ( JA), a potent signal for plant defense responses. Wound- and JA-induced expression of LeARG2 was not observed in the tomato jasmonic acid-insensitive1 mutant, indicating that this response is strictly dependent on an intact JA signal transduction pathway. Infection of wild-type plants with a virulent strain of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato also up-regulated LeARG2 expression and arginase activity. This response was mediated by the bacterial phytotoxin coronatine, which exerts its virulence effects by co-opting the host JA signaling pathway. These results highlight striking similarities in the regulation of arginase in plants and animals and suggest that stress-induced arginase may perform similar roles in diverse biological systems.[1]


  1. Regulation of plant arginase by wounding, jasmonate, and the phytotoxin coronatine. Chen, H., McCaig, B.C., Melotto, M., He, S.Y., Howe, G.A. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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