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Plant Physiol. 1995 Nov;109(3):771-776.

Arginine Decarboxylase Is Localized in Chloroplasts.

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  • 1Laboratori de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de Farmacia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain (A.B., T.A., D.F., A.F.T.).


Plants, unlike animals, can use either ornithine decarboxylase or arginine decarboxylase (ADC) to produce the polyamine precursor putrescine. Lack of knowledge of the exact cellular and subcellular location of these enzymes has been one of the main obstacles to our understanding of the biological role of polyamines in plants. We have generated polyclonal antibodies to oat (Avena sativa L.) ADC to study the spatial distribution and subcellular localization of ADC protein in different oat tissues. By immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry, we show that ADC is organ specific. By cell fractionation and immunoblotting, we show that ADC is localized in chloroplasts associated with the thylakoid membrane. The results also show that increased levels of ADC protein are correlated with high levels of ADC activity and putrescine in osmotically stressed oat leaves. A model of compartmentalization for the arginine pathway and putrescine biosynthesis in active photosynthetic tissues has been proposed. In the context of endosymbiote-driven metabolic evolution in plants, the location of ADC in the chloroplast compartment may have major evolutionary significance, since it explains (a) why plants can use two alternative pathways for putrescine biosynthesis and (b) why animals do not possess ADC.

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