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Plant J. 2019 Feb;97(3):430-446. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14128. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Role of pyrimidine salvage pathway in the maintenance of organellar and nuclear genome integrity.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, 04510 CD, Mexico.
Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2), CNRS, INRA, Université Paris-Sud, Université Évry, Université Paris-Saclay, 91405, Orsay, Paris, France.
Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, CNRS-UPR2357, Université de Strasbourg, 67084, Strasbourg, France.


Nucleotide biosynthesis proceeds through a de novo pathway and a salvage route. In the salvage route, free bases and/or nucleosides are recycled to generate the corresponding nucleotides. Thymidine kinase (TK) is the first enzyme in the salvage pathway to recycle thymidine nucleosides as it phosphorylates thymidine to yield thymidine monophosphate. The Arabidopsis genome contains two TK genes -TK1a and TK1b- that show similar expression patterns during development. In this work, we studied the respective roles of the two genes during early development and in response to genotoxic agents targeting the organellar or the nuclear genome. We found that the pyrimidine salvage pathway is crucial for chloroplast development and genome replication, as well as for the maintenance of its integrity, and is thus likely to play a crucial role during the transition from heterotrophy to autotrophy after germination. Interestingly, defects in TK activity could be partially compensated by supplementation of the medium with sugar, and this effect resulted from both the availability of a carbon source and the activation of the nucleotide de novo synthesis pathway, providing evidence for a compensation mechanism between two routes of nucleotide biosynthesis that depend on nutrient availability. Finally, we found differential roles of the TK1a and TK1b genes during the plant response to genotoxic stress, suggesting that different pools of nucleotides exist within the cells and are required to respond to different types of DNA damage. Altogether, our results highlight the importance of the pyrimidine salvage pathway, both during plant development and in response to genotoxic stress.


Arabidopsis; DNA damage; nucleotide metabolism; thymidine kinase


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