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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 11;277(2):1166-73. Epub 2001 Nov 5.

DGD2, an arabidopsis gene encoding a UDP-galactose-dependent digalactosyldiacylglycerol synthase is expressed during growth under phosphate-limiting conditions.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Department of Molecular Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Golm, Germany.


The galactolipid digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), one of the main chloroplast lipids in higher plants, is believed to be synthesized by the galactolipid:galactolipid galactosyltransferase, which transfers a galactose moiety from one molecule of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) to another. Here, we report that Arabidopsis as well as other plant species contain two genes, DGD1 and DGD2, encoding enzymes with DGDG synthase activity. Using MGDG and UDP-galactose as substrates for in vitro assays with DGD2 we could for the first time measure DGDG synthase activity of a heterologously expressed plant cDNA. UDP-galactose, but not MGDG, serves as the galactose donor for DGDG synthesis catalyzed by DGD2, providing clear evidence for the existence of a UDP-galactose-dependent DGDG synthase in higher plants. In in vitro assays, DGD2 was capable of galactosylating DGDG, resulting in the synthesis of an oligogalactolipid tentatively identified as trigalactosyldiacylglycerol. DGD2 mRNA expression in leaves was very low but was strongly induced during growth under phosphate-limiting conditions. This induction correlates with the previously described increase in DGDG during phosphate deprivation. Therefore, in contrast to DGD1, which is responsible for the synthesis of the bulk of DGDG found in chloroplasts, DGD2 apparently is involved in the synthesis of DGDG under specific growth conditions.

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