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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2005 Aug;43(8):729-45. Epub 2005 Aug 1.

Genes, enzymes and regulation of arginine biosynthesis in plants.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD 21204-2794, USA.


Arabidopsis genes encoding enzymes for each of the eight steps in L-arginine (Arg) synthesis were identified, based upon sequence homologies with orthologs from other organisms. Except for N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS; EC, which is encoded by two genes, all remaining enzymes are encoded by single genes. Targeting predictions for these enzymes, based upon their deduced sequences, and subcellular fractionation studies, suggest that most enzymes of Arg synthesis reside within the plastid. Synthesis of the L-ornthine (Orn) intermediate in this pathway from L-glutamate occurs as a series of acetylated intermediates, as in most other organisms. An N-acetylornithine:glutamate acetyltransferase (NAOGAcT; EC facilitates recycling of the acetyl moiety during Orn formation (cyclic pathway). A putative N-acetylornithine deacetylase (NAOD; EC, which participates in the "linear" pathway for Orn synthesis in some organisms, was also identified. Previous biochemical studies have indicated that allosteric regulation of the first and, especially, the second steps in Orn synthesis (NAGS; N-acetylglutamate kinase (NAGK), EC by the Arg end-product are the major sites of metabolic control of the pathway in organisms using the cyclic pathway. Gene expression profiling for pathway enzymes further suggests that NAGS, NAGK, NAOGAcT and NAOD are coordinately regulated in response to changes in Arg demand during plant growth and development. Synthesis of Arg from Orn is further coordinated with pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis, at the level of allocation of the common carbamoyl-P intermediate.

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