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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Apr;86(8):2582-6.

Molecular cloning and analysis of cDNA encoding a plant tryptophan decarboxylase: comparison with animal dopa decarboxylases.

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  • 1Plant Biotechnology Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Saskatoon.


The sequence of a cDNA clone that includes the complete coding region of tryptophan decarboxylase (EC, formerly EC from periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is reported. The cDNA clone (1747 base pairs) was isolated by antibody screening of a cDNA expression library produced from poly(A)+ RNA found in developing seedlings of C. roseus. The clone hybridized to a 1.8-kilobase mRNA from developing seedlings and from young leaves of mature plants. The identity of the clone was confirmed when extracts of transformed Escherichia coli expressed a protein containing tryptophan decarboxylase enzyme activity. The tryptophan decarboxylase cDNA clone encodes a protein of 500 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 56,142 Da. The amino acid sequence shows a high degree of similarity with the aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (dopa decarboxylase) and the alpha-methyldopa-hypersensitive protein of Drosophila melanogaster. The tryptophan decarboxylase sequence also showed significant similarity to feline glutamate decarboxylase and mouse ornithine decarboxylase, suggesting a possible evolutionary link between these amino acid decarboxylases.

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