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Vitam Horm. 2005;72:271-87.

Cytokinin biosynthesis and regulation.

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Plant Science Center, RIKEN 1-7-22 Suehiro, Tsurumi, Yokohama 230-0045, Japan.


Most natural cytokinins (CKs) are adenine derivatives that carry an isoprene-derived side chain at the N6-terminus. Structural variation at the isoprenoid side chain alters their biological activity and stability. The first step of de novo synthesis of CKs is catalyzed by adenosine phosphate-isopentenyltransferase (IPT), which produces isopentenyladenine nucleotide. In higher plants, trans-zeatin (tZ), a major CK, is formed by subsequent hydroxylation, which is catalyzed by a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (P450), CYP735A1 or CYP735A2. Biochemical characterization of IPTs revealed that the substrate specificities differ between Agrobacterium and higher plants. Agrobacterium IPTs have the ability to produce tZ-type species directly by use of hydroxymethylbutenyl diphosphate as the side chain donor. Analyses of expression patterns of genes for CK metabolic enzymes suggest that CK biosynthesis and homeostasis are finely controlled by internal and external environmental factors such as phytohormones and inorganic nitrogen sources. This regulatory system appears important in linking nutrient signals and morphogenetic responses.

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