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Plant J. 2004 Apr;38(1):80-92.

Molecular regulation of sinapate ester metabolism in Brassica napus: expression of genes, properties of the encoded proteins and correlation of enzyme activities with metabolite accumulation.

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  • 1Department of Secondary Metabolism, Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Weinberg 3, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.


Members of the Brassicaceae family accumulate specific sinapate esters, i.e. sinapoylcholine (sinapine), which is considered as a major antinutritive compound in seeds of important crop plants like Brassica napus, and sinapoylmalate, which is implicated in UV-B tolerance in leaves. We have studied the molecular regulation of the sinapate ester metabolism in B. napus, and we describe expression of genes, some properties of the encoded proteins and profiles of the metabolites and enzyme activities. The cloned cDNAs encoding the key enzymes of sinapine biosynthesis, UDP-glucose (UDP-Glc):B. napus sinapate glucosyltransferase (BnSGT1) and sinapoylglucose:B. napus choline sinapoyltransferase (BnSCT), were functionally expressed. BnSGT1 belongs to a subgroup of plant GTs catalysing the formation of 1-O-hydroxycinnamoyl-beta-d-glucoses. BnSCT is another member of serine carboxypeptidase-like (SCPL) family of acyltransferases. The B. napus genome contains at least two SGT and SCT genes, each derived from its progenitors B. oleracea and B. rapa. BnSGT1 and BnSCT activities are subjected to pronounced transcriptional regulation. BnSGT1 transcript level increases throughout early stages of seed development until the early cotyledonary stage, and stays constant in later stages. The highest level of BnSGT1 transcripts is reached in 2-day-old seedlings followed by a dramatic decrease. In contrast, expression of BnSCT is restricted to developing seeds. Regulation of gene expression at the transcript level seems to be responsible for changes of BnSGT1 and BnSCT activities during seed and seedling development of B. napus. Together with sinapine esterase (SCE) and sinapoylglucose:malate sinapoyltransferase (SMT), activities of BnSGT1 and BnSCT show a close correlation with the accumulation kinetics of the corresponding metabolites.

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