Processing, activity, and inhibition of recombinant cyprosin, an aspartic proteinase from cardoon (Cynara cardunculus).
The cDNA encoding the precursor of an aspartic proteinase from the flowers of the cardoon, Cynara cardunculus, was expressed in Pichia pastoris, and the recombinant, mature cyprosin that accumulated in the culture medium was purified and characterized. The resultant mixture of microheterogeneous forms was shown to consist of glycosylated heavy chains (34 or 32 kDa) plus associated light chains with molecular weights in the region of 14,000-18,000, resulting from excision of most, but not all, of the 104 residues contributed by the unique region known as the plant specific insert. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under non-reducing conditions indicated that disulfide bonding held the heavy and light chains together in the heterodimeric enzyme forms. In contrast, when a construct was expressed in which the nucleotides encoding the 104 residues of the plant specific insert were deleted, the inactive, unprocessed precursor form (procyprosin) accumulated, indicating that the plant-specific insert has a role in ensuring that the nascent polypeptide is folded properly and rendered capable of being activated to generate mature, active proteinase. Kinetic parameters were derived for the hydrolysis of a synthetic peptide substrate by wild-type, recombinant cyprosin at a variety of pH and temperature values and the subsite requirements of the enzyme were mapped using a systematic series of synthetic inhibitors. The significance is discussed of the susceptibility of cyprosin to inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus proteinase and particularly of renin, some of which were found to have subnanomolar potencies against the plant enzyme. (+info)
Mapping the molecular determinant of pathogenicity in a hammerhead viroid: a tetraloop within the in vivo branched RNA conformation.
Chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle viroid (CChMVd) is an RNA of 398-399 nt that can adopt hammerhead structures in both polarity strands. We have identified by Northern-blot hybridization a nonsymptomatic strain (CChMVd-NS) that protects against challenge inoculation with the symptomatic strain (CChMVd-S). Analysis of CChMVd-NS cDNA clones has revealed a size and sequence very similar to those of the CChMVd-S strain. Some of the mutations observed in CChMVd-NS molecular variants were previously identified in CChMVd-S RNA, but others were never found in this RNA. When bioassayed in chrysanthemum, cDNA clones containing the CChMVd-NS specific mutations were infectious but nonsymptomatic. Site-directed mutagenesis showed that one of the CChMVd-NS-specific mutations, a UUUC --> GAAA substitution, was sufficient to change the symptomatic phenotype into the nonsymptomatic one without altering the final accumulation level of the viroid RNA. The pathogenicity determinant-to our knowledge, a determinant of this class has not been described previously in hammerhead viroids-is located in a tetraloop of the computer-predicted branched conformation for CChMVd RNA. Analysis of the sequence heterogeneity found in CChMVd-S and -NS variants strongly supports the existence of such a conformation in vivo, showing that the rod-like or quasi-rod-like secondary structure is not a universal paradigm for viroids. (+info)
Interspecific hybrid ancestry of a plant adaptive radiation: allopolyploidy of the Hawaiian silversword alliance (Asteraceae) inferred from floral homeotic gene duplications.
The polyploid Hawaiian silversword alliance (Asteraceae), a spectacular example of adaptive radiation in plants, was shown previously to have descended from North American tarweeds of the Madia/Raillardiopsis group, a primarily diploid assemblage. The origin of the polyploid condition in the silversword alliance was not resolved in earlier biosystematic, cytogenetic, and molecular studies, apart from the determination that polyploidy in modern species of Madia/Raillardiopsis arose independent of that of the Hawaiian group. We determined that two floral homeotic genes, ASAP3/TM6 and ASAP1, are found in duplicate copies within members of the Hawaiian silversword alliance and appear to have arisen as a result of interspecific hybridization between two North American tarweed species. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses of the ASAP3/TM6 loci suggest that the interspecific hybridization event in the ancestry of the Hawaiian silversword alliance involved members of lineages that include Raillardiopsis muirii (and perhaps Madia nutans) and Raillardiopsis scabrida. The ASAP1 analysis also indicates that the two species of Raillardiopsis are among the closest North American relatives of the Hawaiian silversword alliance. Previous biosystematic evidence demonstrates the potential for allopolyploid formation between members of the two North American tarweed lineages; a vigorous hybrid between R. muirii and R. scabrida has been produced that formed viable, mostly tetraporate (diploid) pollen, in keeping with observed meiotic failure. Various genetic consequences of allopolyploidy may help to explain the phenomenal evolutionary diversification of the silversword alliance. (+info)
Light induction of cell type differentiation and cell-type-specific gene expression in cotyledons of a C(4) plant, Flaveria trinervia.
In Flaveria trinervia (Asteraceae) seedlings, light-induced signals are required for differentiation of cotyledon bundle sheath cells and mesophyll cells and for cell-type-specific expression of Rubisco small subunit genes (bundle sheath cell specific) and the genes that encode pyruvate orthophosphate dikinase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (mesophyll cell specific). Both cell type differentiation and cell-type-specific gene expression were complete by d 7 in light-grown seedlings, but were arrested beyond d 4 in dark-grown seedlings. Our results contrast with those found for another C(4) dicot, Amaranthus hypochondriacus, in which light was not required for either process. The differences between the two C(4) dicot species in cotyledon cell differentiation may arise from differences in embryonic and post-embryonic cotyledon development. Our results illustrate that a common C(4) photosynthetic mechanism can be established through different developmental pathways in different species, and provide evidence for independent evolutionary origins of C(4) photosynthetic mechanisms within dicotyledonous plants. (+info)
Molecular evidence for multiple origins of woodiness and a new world biogeographic connection of the Macaronesian island endemic Pericallis (Asteraceae: senecioneae).
The prevalence of woody species in oceanic islands has attracted the attention of evolutionary biologists for more than a century. We used a phylogeny based on sequences of the internal-transcribed spacer region of nuclear ribosomal DNA to trace the evolution of woodiness in Pericallis (Asteraceae: Senecioneae), a genus endemic to the Macaronesian archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, and Canaries. Our results show that woodiness in Pericallis originated independently at least twice in these islands, further weakening some previous hypotheses concerning the value of this character for tracing the continental ancestry of island endemics. The same data suggest that the origin of woodiness is correlated with ecological shifts from open to species-rich habitats and that the ancestor of Pericallis was an herbaceous species adapted to marginal habitats of the laurel forest. Our results also support Pericallis as closely related to New World genera of the tribe Senecioneae. (+info)
Identification of BFN1, a bifunctional nuclease induced during leaf and stem senescence in Arabidopsis.
Nuclease I enzymes are responsible for the degradation of RNA and single-stranded DNA during several plant growth and developmental processes, including senescence. However, in the case of senescence the corresponding genes have not been reported. We describe the identification and characterization of BFN1 of Arabidopsis, and demonstrate that it is a senescence-associated nuclease I gene. BFN1 nuclease shows high similarity to the sequence of a barley nuclease induced during germination and a zinnia (Zinnia elegans) nuclease induced during xylogenesis. In transgenic plants overexpressing the BFN1 cDNA, a nuclease activity of about 38 kD was detected on both RNase and DNase activity gels. Levels of BFN1 mRNA were extremely low or undetectable in roots, leaves, and stems. In contrast, relatively high BFN1 mRNA levels were detected in flowers and during leaf and stem senescence. BFN1 nuclease activity was also induced during leaf and stem senescence. The strong response of the BFN1 gene to senescence indicated that it would be an excellent tool with which to study the mechanisms of senescence induction, as well as the role of the BFN1 enzyme in senescence using reverse genetic approaches in Arabidopsis. (+info)
Species diversity and biological invasions: relating local process to community pattern.
In a California riparian system, the most diverse natural assemblages are the most invaded by exotic plants. A direct in situ manipulation of local diversity and a seed addition experiment showed that these patterns emerge despite the intrinsic negative effects of diversity on invasions. The results suggest that species loss at small scales may reduce invasion resistance. At community-wide scales, the overwhelming effects of ecological factors spatially covarying with diversity, such as propagule supply, make the most diverse communities most likely to be invaded. (+info)
Group I intron located in PR protein homologue gene in Youngia japonica.
A Youngia japonica strain had a group I intron that was suggested to have been transferred from Protomyces inouyei, a pathogenic fungus of Y. japonica. It was located in the miraculin homologue coding gene by reverse complementation. The deduced amino acid sequence of this miraculin homologue of Y. japonica was similar to the amino acid sequences of tobacco and tomato pathogenesis-related proteins. (+info)