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Physiol Plant. 2004 Mar;120(3):442-450.

Transcriptional regulation of proline biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula reveals developmental and environmental specific features.

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Centre de Ressources Régionales en Biologie Moléculaire, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, 33 rue St Leu, 80039 Amiens cedex, France.


The model legume plant Medicago truncatula accumulates free proline in response to hyperosmotic stress as do many other organisms. In order to analyse the transcriptional regulation of proline biosynthesis in M. truncatula, three cDNAs encoding Delta(1)-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS1, P5CS2; EC not assigned) and ornithine delta-aminotransferase (OAT; EC were isolated. The cDNAs shared high homologies with the other plant sequences and genomic organization analysis indicated the presence of two P5CS and two putative OAT genes. The two P5CS genes showed differing transcript level regulation according to organs and in response to osmotic stress. MtP5CS1 steady-state transcript levels in the different plant organs were correlated with proline levels but transcript abundance was unaffected by osmotic stresses. MtP5CS2 transcripts were poorly detected in all organs but were strongly accumulated in shoots of salt-stressed plants. We suggest a specific of MtP5CS1 and MtP5CS2 as a housekeeping product and as a stress specific isoform, respectively. MtOAT transcripts were predominantly detected in roots and shoots of unstressed plants. Salt-stress treatment induced the accumulation of MtOAT transcripts in the whole plant whatever the developmental stage. In salt-stressed roots, a positive correlation was found between proline and MtOAT transcript accumulation. These results suggest that both ornithine and glutamate biosynthesis pathways contribute to the osmotic stress-induced proline accumulation in M. truncatula.

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