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Plant Cell. 2003 Apr;15(4):845-53.

Increased lysine synthesis coupled with a knockout of its catabolism synergistically boosts lysine content and also transregulates the metabolism of other amino acids in Arabidopsis seeds.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


To elucidate the relative significance of Lys synthesis and catabolism in determining Lys level in plant seeds, we expressed a bacterial feedback-insensitive dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHPS) in a seed-specific manner in wild-type Arabidopsis as well as in an Arabidopsis knockout mutant in the Lys catabolism pathway. Transgenic plants expressing the bacterial DHPS, or the knockout mutant, contained approximately 12-fold or approximately 5-fold higher levels, respectively, of seed free Lys than wild-type plants. However, the combination of these two traits caused a synergistic approximately 80-fold increase in seed free Lys level. The dramatic increase in free Lys in the knockout mutant expressing the bacterial DHPS was associated with a significant reduction in the levels of Glu and Asp but also with an unexpected increase in the levels of Gln and Asn. This finding suggested a special regulatory interaction between Lys metabolism and amide amino acid metabolism in seeds. Notably, the level of free Met, which competes with Lys for Asp and Glu as precursors, was increased unexpectedly by up to approximately 38-fold in the various transgenic and knockout plants. Together, our results show that Lys catabolism plays a major regulatory role in Lys accumulation in Arabidopsis seeds and reveal novel regulatory networks of seed amino acid metabolism.

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