Functional characterization and expression analysis of the amino acid permease RcAAP3 from castor bean. (1/96)

A polymerase chain reaction-based library screening procedure was used to isolate RcAAP3, an amino acid permease cDNA from castor bean (Ricinus communis). RcAAP3 is 1.7 kb in length, with an open reading frame that encodes a protein with a calculated molecular mass of 51 kD. Hydropathy analysis indicates that the RcAAP3 protein is highly hydrophobic in nature with nine to 11 putative transmembrane domains. RcAAP3-mediated uptake of citrulline in a yeast transport mutant showed saturable kinetics with a K(m) of 0.4 mM. Transport was higher at acidic pH and was inhibited by the protonophore carbonylcyanide-m-chlorophenylhydrazone, suggesting a proton-coupled transport mechanism. Citrulline uptake was strongly inhibited (72%) by the permeable sulfydryl reagent N-ethylmaleimide, but showed lower sensitivity (30% inhibition) to the nonpermeable reagent p-chloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid. Diethylpyrocarbonate, a histidine modifier, inhibited citrulline uptake by 80%. A range of amino acids inhibited citrulline uptake, suggesting that RcAAP3 may be a broad substrate permease that can transport neutral and basic amino acids with a lower affinity for acidic amino acids. Northern analysis indicated that RcAAP3 is widely expressed in source and sink tissues of castor bean, and that the pattern of expression is distinct from RcAAP1 and RcAAP2.  (+info)

Programmed cell death in castor bean endosperm is associated with the accumulation and release of a cysteine endopeptidase from ricinosomes. (2/96)

The cells of the endosperm of castor bean seeds (Ricinus communis) undergo programmed cell death during germination, after their oil and protein reserves have been mobilized. Nuclear DNA fragmentation first was observed at day 3 in the endosperm cells immediately adjacent to the cotyledons and progressed across to the outermost cell layers by day 5. We also detected the accumulation of small organelles known as ricinosomes, by using an antibody against a cysteine endoprotease. By the time the nuclear DNA was susceptible to heavy label by terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling, the ricinosomes had released into the cytoplasm their content of cysteine endoprotease, which became activated because of the cleavage of its propeptide. The cysteine endoprotease is distinguished by a C-terminal KDEL sequence, although it is not retained in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and is a marker for ricinosomes. Homologous proteases are found in the senescing tissues of other plants, including the petals of the daylily. Ricinosomes were identified in this tissue by electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry. It seems that ricinosomes are not unique to Ricinus and play an important role in the degradation of plant cell contents during programmed cell death.  (+info)

Variation in the oxygen isotope ratio of phloem sap sucrose from castor bean. Evidence in support of the Peclet effect. (3/96)

Theory suggests that the level of enrichment of (18)O above source water in plant organic material (Delta) may provide an integrative indicator of control of water loss. However, there are still gaps in our understanding of the processes affecting Delta. One such gap is the observed discrepancy between modeled enrichment of water at the sites of evaporation within the leaf and measured enrichment of the leaf water as a whole (Delta(L)). Farquhar and Lloyd (1993) suggested that this may be caused by a Peclet effect. It is also unclear whether organic material formed in the leaf reflects enrichment of water at the sites of evaporation within the leaf or Delta(L). To investigate this question castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) leaves, still attached to the plant, were sealed into a controlled-environment gas exchange chamber and subjected to a step change in leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference. Sucrose was collected from a cut on the petiole of the leaf in the chamber under equilibrium conditions and every hour for 6 h after the change in leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference. Oxygen isotope composition of sucrose in the phloem sap (Delta(suc)) reflected modeled Delta(L). A model is presented describing Delta(suc) at isotopic steady state, and accounts for 96% of variation in measured Delta(suc). The data strongly support the Peclet effect theory.  (+info)

Engineering delta 9-16:0-acyl carrier protein (ACP) desaturase specificity based on combinatorial saturation mutagenesis and logical redesign of the castor delta 9-18:0-ACP desaturase. (4/96)

Six amino acid locations in the soluble castor Delta(9)-18:0-acyl carrier protein (ACP) desaturase were identified that can affect substrate specificity. Combinatorial saturation mutagenesis of these six amino acids, in conjunction with selection, using an unsaturated fatty acid auxotroph system, led to the isolation of variants with up to 15-fold increased specific activity toward 16-carbon substrates. The most improved mutant, com2, contained two substitutions (T117R/G188L) common to five of the 19 complementing variants subjected to further analysis. These changes, when engineered into otherwise wild-type 18:0-ACP desaturase to make mutant 5.2, produced a 35-fold increase in specific activity with respect to 16-carbon substrates. Kinetic analysis revealed changes in both k(cat) and K(m) that result in an 82-fold improvement in specificity factor for 16-carbon substrate compared with wild-type enzyme. Improved substrate orientation apparently compensated for loss of binding energy that results from the loss of desolvation energy for 16-carbon substrates. Mutant 5.2 had specific activity for 16-carbon substrates 2 orders of magnitude higher than those of known natural 16-carbon specific desaturases. These data support the hypothesis that it should be possible to reengineer archetypal enzymes to achieve substrate specificities characteristic of recently evolved enzymes while retaining the desired stability and/or turnover characteristics of a parental paralog.  (+info)

Lipolytic activity of ricin from Ricinus sanguineus and Ricinus communis on neutral lipids. (5/96)

The present study was carried out with a view of determining ricin lipolytic activity on neutral lipids in emulsion and in a membrane-like model. Using 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanol tributyrate (BAL-TC(4)) as substrate, the lipolytic activity of ricin was found to be proportional to ricin and substrate concentrations, with an apparent K(m) (K(m,app)) of 2.4 mM, a k(cat) of 200 min(-1) and a specific activity of 1.0 unit/mg of protein. This work was extended to p-nitrophenyl (pNP) fatty acid esters containing two to twelve carbon atoms. Maximum lipolytic activity was registered on pNP decanoate (pNPC(10)), with a K(m,app) of 3.5 mM, a k(cat) of 173 min(-1) and a specific activity of 3.5 units/mg of protein. Ricin lipolytic activity is pH and galactose dependent, with a maximum at pH 7.0 in the presence of 0.2 M galactose. Using the monolayer technique with dicaprin as substrate, ricin showed a lipolytic activity proportional to the ricin concentration at 20 mN/m, which is dependent on the surface pressure of the lipid monolayer and is detectable up to 30 mN/m, a surface pressure that is of the same order of magnitude as that of natural cell membranes. The methods based on pNPC(10) and BAL-TC(4) hydrolysis are simple and reproducible; thus they can be used for routine studies of ricin lipolytic activity. Ricin from Ricinus communis and R. sanguineus were treated with diethyl p-nitrophenylphosphate, an irreversible serine esterase inhibitor, and their lipolytic activities on BAL-TC(4) and pNPC(10), and cytotoxic activity, were concurrently recorded. A reduction in lipolytic activity was accompanied by a decrease in cytotoxicity on Caco2 cells. These data support the idea that the lipolytic activity associated with ricin is relevant to a lipase whose activity is pH and galactose dependent, sensitive to diethyl p-nitrophenylphosphate, and that a lipolytic step may be involved in the process of cell poisoning by ricin. Both colorimetric tests used in this study are sensitive enough to be helpful in the detection of possible lipolytic activities associated with other cytotoxins or lectins.  (+info)

Graviresponsiveness and the development of columella tissue in primary and lateral roots of Ricinus communis. (6/96)

Half-tipped primary and lateral roots of Ricinus communis cv Hale bend toward the side of the root on which the intact half-tip remains. Therefore, the minimal graviresponsiveness of lateral roots is not due to the inability of their caps to produce growth effectors (presumably inhibitors). The columella tissues of primary (i.e. graviresponsive) roots are (a) 4.30 times longer, (b) 2.95 times wider, (c) 37.4 times more voluminous, and (d) composed of 17.2 times more cells than those of lateral roots. The onset of positive gravitropism by lateral roots is positively correlated with a (a) 2.99-fold increase in length, (b) 2.63-fold increase in width, (c) 20.7-fold increase in volume of their columella tissues. We propose that the minimal graviresponsiveness of lateral roots is due to the small size of their columella tissues, which results in their caps being unable to (a) establish a concentration gradient of the effector sufficient to induce gravicurvature and (b) produce as much as the effector as caps of graviresponsive roots.  (+info)

The breakdown of lipid reserves in the endosperm of germinating castor beans. (7/96)

1. Lipid extracts were obtained from castor-bean endosperm tissue at various times during germination and, after purification, the total lipid content was determined. Quantitative measurements of the triglyceride and phospholipid content together with the fatty acid composition were made. 2. The total lipid content of the endosperm rapidly decreased during germination; after 10 days less than 20% of the original weight of lipid remained. In contrast, the phospholipid content (initially less than 0.5% of the total lipid) increased slightly during this time. The fatty acid composition and the relative proportions of the triglyceride species of the total lipid extract remained constant during 10 days of germination. 3. Gibberellic acid (0.3 mM) markedly stimulated the rate of lipid breakdown but did not alter either the fatty acid composition or the relative proportion of triglyceride species. 4. The embryo had little effect on lipid metabolism in the endosperm tissue; only after 6 days of germination were differences observed in the rate of fat utilization in the presence and absence of the embryo.  (+info)

Isolation of lysophosphatidic acid phosphatase from developing peanut cotyledons. (8/96)

The soluble fraction of immature peanut (Arachis hypogaea) was capable of dephosphorylating [(3)H]lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) to generate monoacylglycerol (MAG). The enzyme responsible for the generation of MAG, LPA phosphatase, has been identified in plants and purified by successive chromatography separations on octyl-Sepharose, Blue Sepharose, Superdex-75, and heparin-agarose to apparent homogeneity from developing peanuts. This enzyme was purified 5,048-fold to a final specific activity of 858 nmol min(-1) mg(-1). The enzyme has a native molecular mass of approximately 39 kD determined by gel filtration and migrates as a single band on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a subunit molecular mass of 39 +/- 1.5 kD. The K(m) values for oleoyl-, stearoyl-, and palmitoyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphate were determined to be 28.6, 39.3, and 47.9 microM, respectively. The LPA phosphatase was specific to LPA and did not utilize any other substrate such as glycerol-3-phosphate, phosphatidic acid, or p-nitrophenylphosphate. The enzyme activity was stimulated by the low concentrations of detergents such as Triton X-100 and octylglucoside. Cations had no effect on the enzyme activity. Fatty acids, sphingosine, and sphingomyelin at low concentrations stimulated the enzyme activity. The identification of LPA phosphatase in plants demonstrates the existence of MAG biosynthetic machinery in plants.  (+info)