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Plant Physiol. 1989 May;90(1):351-8.

Purification and Characterization of NADH-Glutamate Synthase from Alfalfa Root Nodules.

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  • 1U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108.


Glutamate synthase (GOGAT), a key enzyme in the pathway for the assimilation of symbiotically fixed dinitrogen (N(2)) into amino acids in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) root nodules, was purified and used to produce high titer polyclonal antibodies. Purification resulted in a 208-fold increase in specific activity to 13 micromole per minute per milligram of protein and an activity yield of 37%. Further purification to near homogeneity was achieved by fast protein liquid chromatography, but with substantial loss of activity. Enzymic activity was highly labile, losing 3% per hour even when substrates, stabilizers, and reducing agents were included in buffers. However, activity could be partially stabilized for up to 1 month by storing GOGAT at -80 degrees C in 50% glycerol. The subunit molecular weight of GOGAT was estimated at 200 +/- 7 kilodaltons with a native molecular weight of 235 +/- 16 kilodaltons, which suggested that GOGAT is a monomer of unusually high molecular weight. The pl was estimated to be 6.6. The K(m) values for glutamine, alpha-ketoglutarate, and NADH were 466, 33, and 4.2 micromolar, respectively. Antibodies were produced to NADH-GOGAT. Specificity of the antibodies was shown by immunotitration of GOGAT activity. Alfalfa nodule NADH-GOGAT antibodies cross-reacted with polypeptides of a similar molecular weight in a number of legume species. Western blots probed with anti-GOGAT showed that the high GOGAT activity of nodules as compared to roots was associated with increased levels of GOGAT polypeptides. Nodule NADH-GOGAT appeared to be highly expressed in effective nodules and little if any in other organs.

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