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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Oct 26;96(22):12929-34.

Interactions among enzymes of the Arabidopsis flavonoid biosynthetic pathway.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0406, USA.


Flavonoids are secondary metabolites derived from phenylalanine and acetate metabolism that perform a variety of essential functions in higher plants. Studies over the past 30 years have supported a model in which flavonoid metabolism is catalyzed by an enzyme complex localized to the endoplasmic reticulum [Hrazdina, G. & Wagner, G. J. (1985) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 237, 88-100]. To test this model further we assayed for direct interactions between several key flavonoid biosynthetic enzymes in developing Arabidopsis seedlings. Two-hybrid assays indicated that chalcone synthase, chalcone isomerase (CHI), and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase interact in an orientation-dependent manner. Affinity chromatography and immunoprecipitation assays further demonstrated interactions between chalcone synthase, CHI, and flavonol 3-hydroxylase in lysates from Arabidopsis seedlings. These results support the hypothesis that the flavonoid enzymes assemble as a macromolecular complex with contacts between multiple proteins. Evidence was also found for posttranslational modification of CHI. The importance of understanding the subcellular organization of elaborate enzyme systems is discussed in the context of metabolic engineering.

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