CUT1, an Arabidopsis gene required for cuticular wax biosynthesis and pollen fertility, encodes a very-long-chain fatty acid condensing enzyme.
Land plants secrete a layer of wax onto their aerial surfaces that is essential for survival in a terrestrial environment. This wax is composed of long-chain, aliphatic hydrocarbons derived from very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs). Using the Arabidopsis expressed sequence tag database, we have identified a gene, designated CUT1, that encodes a VLCFA condensing enzyme required for cuticular wax production. Sense suppression of CUT1 in transgenic Arabidopsis plants results in waxless (eceriferum) stems and siliques as well as conditional male sterility. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that this was a severe waxless phenotype, because stems of CUT1-suppressed plants were completely devoid of wax crystals. Furthermore, chemical analyses of waxless plants demonstrated that the stem wax load was reduced to 6 to 7% of wild-type levels. This value is lower than that reported for any of the known eceriferum mutants. The severe waxless phenotype resulted from the downregulation of both the decarbonylation and acyl reduction wax biosynthetic pathways. This result indicates that CUT1 is involved in the production of VLCFA precursors used for the synthesis of all stem wax components in Arabidopsis. In CUT1-suppressed plants, the C24 chain-length wax components predominate, suggesting that CUT1 is required for elongation of C24 VLCFAs. The unique wax composition of CUT1-suppressed plants together with the fact that the location of CUT1 on the genetic map did not coincide with any of the known ECERIFERUM loci suggest that we have identified a novel gene involved in wax biosynthesis. CUT1 is currently the only known gene with a clearly established function in wax production. (+info)
Early expression of the calmodulin gene, which precedes appressorium formation in Magnaporthe grisea, is inhibited by self-inhibitors and requires surface attachment.
Fungal conidia contain chemicals that inhibit germination and appressorium formation until they are well dispersed in a favorable environment. Recently, such self-inhibitors were found to be present on the conidia of Magnaporthe grisea, and plant surface waxes were found to relieve this self-inhibition. To determine whether the self-inhibitors suppress the expression of early genes involved in the germination and differentiation of conidia, the calmodulin gene was chosen as a representative early gene, because it was found to be expressed early in Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Colletotrichum trifolii differentiation. After calmodulin cDNA and genomic DNA from M. grisea were cloned, the promoter of the calmodulin gene was fused to a reporter gene, that for green fluorescent protein (GFP), and transformed into the M. grisea genome. Confocal microscopic examination and quantitation of expression of GFP green fluorescence showed (i) that the expression of the calmodulin gene decreased significantly when self-inhibition of M. grisea appressorium formation occurred because of high conidial density or addition of exogenous self-inhibitors and (ii) that the expression level of this gene was restored when self-inhibition was relieved by the addition of plant surface waxes. The increase in fluorescence correlated with the percentage of conidia that formed appressoria. The induction of calmodulin was also confirmed by RNA blotting. Concanavalin A inhibited surface attachment of conidia, GFP expression, and appressorium formation without affecting germination. The high correlation between GFP expression and appressorium formation strongly suggests that calmodulin gene expression and appressorium formation require surface attachment. (+info)
Attachment forces of ants measured with a centrifuge: better 'wax-runners' have a poorer attachment to a smooth surface.
The symbiotic ant partners of glaucous Macaranga ant-plants show an exceptional capacity to run on the slippery epicuticular wax crystals covering the plant stem without any difficulty. We test the hypothesis that these specialised 'wax-runners' have a general, superior attachment capacity. We compared attachment on a smooth surface for 11 ant species with different wax-running capacities. The maximum force that could be withstood before an ant became detached was quantified using a centrifuge recorded by a high-speed video camera. This technique has the advantage of causing minimum disruption and allows measurements in very small animals. When strong centrifugal forces were applied, the ants showed a conspicuous 'freezing reflex' advantageous to attachment. Attachment forces differed strongly among the ant species investigated. This variation could not be explained by different surface area/weight ratios of smaller and larger ants. Within species, however, detachment force per body weight (F/W) scaled with the predicted value of W(-)(0.33), where W is body weight in newtons. Surprisingly, our results not only disprove the hypothesis that 'wax-runners' generally attach better but also provide evidence for the reverse effect. Superior 'wax-runners' (genera Technomyrmex and Crematogaster) did not cling better to smooth Perspex, but performed significantly worse than closely related congeners that are unable to climb up waxy stems. This suggests an inverse relationship between adaptations to run on wax and to attach to a smooth surface. (+info)
TMC-171A,B,C and TMC-154, novel polyketide antibiotics produced by Gliocladium sp. TC 1304 and TC 1282.
Four new antibiotics, TMC-171A (2), B (3), C (4) and TMC-154 (5) have been isolated from the fermentation of fungal strains Gliocladium sp. TC 1304 and TC 1282, respectively. Spectroscopic and degradation studies have shown that TMC-171s and TMC-154 were new members of the TMC-151 class of antibiotics, unique polyketides modified with a D-mannose and a D-mannitol or a D-arabitol. These compounds showed moderate cytotoxicity to various tumor cell lines. (+info)
Septal splint with wax plates.
To pack or not to pack, has always been a debate, especially after septal and functional endoscopic sinus surgery. The authors have studied the symptoms of packing versus not packing in their series of 100 patients having undergone nasal surgery. They advocate the use of dental wax for the fashioning of septal splints, since they are easy to introduce, cheap and malleable. The patients postoperative comfort is greatly enhanced with the use of dental wax plate splints instead of nasal packing. (+info)
Purification of a jojoba embryo wax synthase, cloning of its cDNA, and production of high levels of wax in seeds of transgenic arabidopsis.
Wax synthase (WS, fatty acyl-coenzyme A [coA]: fatty alcohol acyltransferase) catalyzes the final step in the synthesis of linear esters (waxes) that accumulate in seeds of jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis). We have characterized and partially purified this enzyme from developing jojoba embryos. A protein whose presence correlated with WS activity during chromatographic fractionation was identified and a cDNA encoding that protein was cloned. Seed-specific expression of the cDNA in transgenic Arabidopsis conferred high levels of WS activity on developing embryos from those plants. The WS sequence has significant homology with several Arabidopsis open reading frames of unknown function. Wax production in jojoba requires, in addition to WS, a fatty acyl-CoA reductase (FAR) and an efficient fatty acid elongase system that forms the substrates preferred by the FAR. We have expressed the jojoba WS cDNA in Arabidopsis in combination with cDNAs encoding the jojoba FAR and a beta-ketoacyl-CoA synthase (a component of fatty acid elongase) from Lunaria annua. (13)C-Nuclear magnetic resonance analysis of pooled whole seeds from transgenic plants indicated that as many as 49% of the oil molecules in the seeds were waxes. Gas chromatography analysis of transmethylated oil from individual seeds suggested that wax levels may represent up to 70% (by weight) of the oil present in those seeds. (+info)
Comb-wax discrimination by honeybees tested with the proboscis extension reflex.
We used the proboscis extension reflex of honeybees to test their ability to discriminate between comb waxes of different ages (wax scales, 1-week-old wax, 2- to 3-year-old wax, 8- to 10-year-old wax). Such waxes differ in their chemical composition, and an ability to discriminate between them may aid the orientation of the bees in the nest. To train the bees, we used whole extracts of waxes and four different fractions of the whole extract based on different elutions of solid-phase extractions (extract I, fraction A eluted with hexane and fraction B with diethylether; extract II, fraction B further subdivided into fraction C by elution with isopropylchloride and fraction D by elution with diethylether). In a differential training regime (six learning and six test trials) with whole extracts or with the different fractions, we paired one type of wax with a reward and another with no reward. The bees learned to discriminate between all tested pairs of whole extracts. The two subfractions (fractions A and B) gave different results: the bees could discriminate between waxes of different ages when fraction B was used but not when fraction A was used. A further subdivision of fraction B into fractions C and D showed that only fraction D contained the elements that enabled bees to discriminate between old and new wax. Fraction D makes up only 5?8 % of the total wax mass and contains hydroxy alkyl esters (5?6 % of the total wax mass), primary alcohols (0.3?0.5 % of the total wax mass) and acids (0.06?1. 0 % of the total wax mass). Fractions A and C (together forming 62?64 % of the total wax mass), which consist of unbranched and branched aliphatic hydrocarbons and alkyl esters, could not be discriminated by the bees. The remaining wax mass (25?29 %) was eluted with a mixture of chloroform, methanol and water (13:5:1) as fraction E. (+info)
Long-chain aldehyde dehydrogenase that participates in n-alkane utilization and wax ester synthesis in Acinetobacter sp. strain M-1.
A long-chain aldehyde dehydrogenase, Ald1, was found in a soluble fraction of Acinetobacter sp. strain M-1 cells grown on n-hexadecane as a sole carbon source. The gene (ald1) was cloned from the chromosomal DNA of the bacterium. The open reading frame of ald1 was 1,512 bp long, corresponding to a protein of 503 amino acid residues (molecular mass, 55,496 Da), and the deduced amino acid sequence showed high similarity to those of various aldehyde dehydrogenases. The ald1 gene was stably expressed in Escherichia coli, and the gene product (recombinant Ald1 [rAld1]) was purified to apparent homogeneity by gel electrophoresis. rAld1 showed enzyme activity toward n-alkanals (C(4) to C(14)), with a preference for longer carbon chains within the tested range; the highest activity was obtained with tetradecanal. The ald1 gene was disrupted by homologous recombination on the Acinetobacter genome. Although the ald1 disruptant (ald1Delta) strain still had the ability to grow on n-hexadecane to some extent, its aldehyde dehydrogenase activity toward n-tetradecanal was reduced to half the level of the wild-type strain. Under nitrogen-limiting conditions, the accumulation of intracellular wax esters in the ald1Delta strain became much lower than that in the wild-type strain. These and other results imply that a soluble long-chain aldehyde dehydrogenase indeed plays important roles both in growth on n-alkane and in wax ester formation in Acinetobacter sp. strain M-1. (+info)