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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Aug;60(8):2890-7.

Cloning and expression of genes required for coronamic Acid (2-ethyl-1-aminocyclopropane 1-carboxylic Acid), an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the phytotoxin coronatine.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-9947.


Coronamic acid (CMA; 2-ethyl-1-aminocyclopropane 1-carboxylic acid) is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of coronatine (COR), a chlorosis-inducing phytotoxin produced by Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea PG4180. Tn5 mutagenesis and substrate feeding studies were previously used to characterize regions of the COR biosynthetic gene cluster required for synthesis of coronafacic acid and CMA, which are the only two characterized intermediates in the COR biosynthetic pathway. In the present study, additional Tn5 insertions were generated to more precisely define the region required for CMA biosynthesis. A new analytical method for CMA detection which involves derivatization with phenylisothiocyanate and detection by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was developed. This method was used to analyze and quantify the production of CMA by selected derivatives of P. syringae pv. glycinea which contained mutagenized or cloned regions from the CMA biosynthetic region. pMU2, a clone containing a 6.45-kb insert from the CMA region, genetically complemented mutants which required CMA for COR production. When pMU2 was introduced into P. syringae pv. glycinea 18a/90 (a strain which does not synthesize COR or its intermediates), CMA was not produced, indicating that pMU2 does not contain the complete CMA biosynthetic gene cluster. However, when two plasmid constructs designated pMU234 (12.5 kb) and pKTX30 (3.0 kb) were cointroduced into 18a/90, CMA was detected in culture supernatants by thin-layer chromatography and HPLC. The biological activity of the CMA produced by P. syringae pv. glycinea 18a/90 derivatives was demonstrated by the production of COR in cosynthesis experiments in which 18a/90 transconjugants were cocultivated with CMA-requiring mutants of P. syringae pv. glycinea PG4180. CMA production was also obtained when pMU234 and pKTX30 were cointroduced into P. syringae pv. syringae B1; however, these two constructs did not enable Escherichia coli K-12 to synthesize CMA. The production of CMA in P. syringae strains which lack the COR biosynthetic gene cluster indicates that CMA production can occur independently of coronafacic acid biosynthesis and raises interesting questions regarding the evolutionary origin of the COR biosynthetic pathway.


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