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Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2002 Apr;335(4):143-51.

Heterologous expression of a bacterial homospermidine synthase gene in transgenic tobacco: effects on the polyamine pathway.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Parasitologie, Bonn, Germany.


Homospermidine synthase (HSS) is a branch-point enzyme that links the secondary pathway (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) to primary metabolism (polyamines). Since the diamine putrescine is a precursor of homospermidine and nicotine in tobacco, we performed heterologous expression of a bacterial homospermidine synthase gene (hss)in Nicotiana tabacum and determined the effect on free and conjugated polyamine levels. The hss gene from Rhodopseudomonas viridis was placed under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter in Agrobacterium tumefaciens Ti-plasmid in sense and antisense orientation and both hss constructs were transformed into tobacco plants. Expression of the hss gene was verified by "Northern" and "Southern Blot" analysis. 2 transgenic sense lines were generated from 1000 calli which showed weak expression of homospermidine synthase, i.e. 50 pktal/mg protein and 45 pktal/mg protein. These transgenic sense plants showed a significantly decreased content of free spermidine while the pool of conjugated spermidine was not affected. The 2 sense plants exhibited a range of abnormal phenotypes such as dwarfness and stunted growth. Homospermidine was sporadically detectable in wild type tobacco. To our knowledge, this is the first biotechnological approach to express a prokaryotic homospermidine synthase gene in tobacco plants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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