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Plant Physiol. 2011 Jan;155(1):282-92. doi: 10.1104/pp.110.164053. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

Biosynthesis of the cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin in cassava: isolation, biochemical characterization, and expression pattern of CYP71E7, the oxime-metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzyme.

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Plant Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Villum Kahn Rasmussen Research Centre Pro-Active Plants, University of Copenhagen, DK-1871 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a eudicotyledonous plant that produces the valine- and isoleucine-derived cyanogenic glucosides linamarin and lotaustralin with the corresponding oximes and cyanohydrins as key intermediates. CYP79 enzymes catalyzing amino acid-to-oxime conversion in cyanogenic glucoside biosynthesis are known from several plants including cassava. The enzyme system converting oxime into cyanohydrin has previously only been identified in the monocotyledonous plant great millet (Sorghum bicolor). Using this great millet CYP71E1 sequence as a query in a Basic Local Alignment Search Tool-p search, a putative functional homolog that exhibited an approximately 50% amino acid sequence identity was found in cassava. The corresponding full-length cDNA clone was obtained from a plasmid library prepared from cassava shoot tips and was assigned CYP71E7. Heterologous expression of CYP71E7 in yeast afforded microsomes converting 2-methylpropanal oxime (valine-derived oxime) and 2-methylbutanal oxime (isoleucine-derived oxime) to the corresponding cyanohydrins, which dissociate into acetone and 2-butanone, respectively, and hydrogen cyanide. The volatile ketones were detected as 2.4-dinitrophenylhydrazone derivatives by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. A K(S) of approximately 0.9 μm was determined for 2-methylbutanal oxime based on substrate-binding spectra. CYP71E7 exhibits low specificity for the side chain of the substrate and catalyzes the conversion of aliphatic and aromatic oximes with turnovers of approximately 21, 17, 8, and 1 min(-1) for the oximes derived from valine, isoleucine, tyrosine, and phenylalanine, respectively. A second paralog of CYP71E7 was identified by database searches and showed approximately 90% amino acid sequence identity. In tube in situ polymerase chain reaction showed that in nearly unfolded leaves, the CYP71E7 paralogs are preferentially expressed in specific cells in the endodermis and in most cells in the first cortex cell layer. In fully unfolded leaves, the expression is pronounced in the cortex cell layer just beside the epidermis and in specific cells in the vascular tissue cortex cells. Thus, the transcripts of the CYP71E7 paralogs colocalize with CYP79D1 and CYP79D2. We conclude that CYP71E7 is the oxime-metabolizing enzyme in cyanogenic glucoside biosynthesis in cassava.

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