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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Jan 11;1681(2-3):107-15. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

The ornithine cycle enzyme arginase from Agaricus bisporus and its role in urea accumulation in fruit bodies.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, NL-6525 ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


An extensive survey of higher fungi revealed that members of the family Agaricaceae, including Agaricus bisporus, accumulate substantial amounts of urea in their fruit bodies. An important role of the ornithine cycle enzymes in urea accumulation has been proposed. In this work, we present the cloning and sequencing of the arginase gene and its promoter region from A. bisporus. A PCR-probe based on fungal arginase was used to identify the A. bisporus arginase gene from a cDNA library. The arginase cDNA encodes a 311-aa protein which is most likely expressed in the cytosol. Expression of the cDNA in Escherichia coli was established as a His-tagged fusion protein. The arginase gene was used as a molecular marker to study expression and regulation during sporophore formation and postharvest development. The expression of the arginase gene was significantly up-regulated from developmental stage 3 onwards for all the tissues studied. A maximum of expression was reached at stage 6 for both stipe and cap tissue. In postharvest stages 5, 6 and 7 the level of expression observed was similar to normal growth stages 5, 6 and 7. A good correlation was found between arginase expression and urea content of stipe, velum, gills, cap and peel tissue. For all tissues the urea content decreased over the first four stages of development. From stage 4 onwards urea accumulated again except for stipe tissue where no significant changes were observed. The same trend was also observed for postharvest development, but the observed increase of urea in postharvest tissues was much higher.

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