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Plant J. 1992 Jan;2(1):25-34.

Identification of a cDNA for the plastid-located geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase from Capsicum annuum: correlative increase in enzyme activity and transcript level during fruit ripening.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


Geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase is a key enzyme in plant terpenoid biosynthesis. Using specific antibodies, a cDNA encoding geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase has been isolated from bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) ripening fruit. The cloned cDNA codes for a high molecular weight precursor of 369 amino acids which contains a transit peptide of approximately 60 amino acids. In-situ immunolocalization experiments have demonstrated that geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase is located exclusively in the plastids. Expression of the cloned cDNA in E. coli has unambiguously demonstrated that the encoded polypeptide catalyzes the synthesis of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate by the addition of isopentenyl pyrophosphate to an allylic pyrophosphate. Peptide sequence comparisons revealed significant similarity between the sequences of the C. annuum geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase and those deduced from carotenoid biosynthesis (crtE) genes from photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic bacteria. In addition, four highly conserved regions, which are found in various prenyltransferases, were identified. Furthermore, evidence is provided suggesting that conserved and exposed carboxylates are directly involved in the catalytic mechanism. Finally, the expression of the geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase gene is demonstrated to be strongly induced during the chloroplast to chromoplast transition which occurs in ripening fruits, and is correlated with an increase in enzyme activity.

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