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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 23;95(13):7805-12.

The specific features of methionine biosynthesis and metabolism in plants.

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Laboratoire mixte Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Rhône-Poulenc (UMR041), Rhône-Poulenc Agrochimie, 14-20 rue Pierre Baizet, 69263, Lyon cedex 9, France.


Plants, unlike other higher eukaryotes, possess all the necessary enzymatic equipment for de novo synthesis of methionine, an amino acid that supports additional roles than simply serving as a building block for protein synthesis. This is because methionine is the immediate precursor of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), which plays numerous roles of being the major methyl-group donor in transmethylation reactions and an intermediate in the biosynthesis of polyamines and of the phytohormone ethylene. In addition, AdoMet has regulatory function in plants behaving as an allosteric activator of threonine synthase. Among the AdoMet-dependent reactions occurring in plants, methylation of cytosine residues in DNA has raised recent interest because impediment of this function alters plant morphology and induces homeotic alterations in flower organs. Also, AdoMet metabolism seems somehow implicated in plant growth via an as yet fully understood link with plant-growth hormones such as cytokinins and auxin and in plant pathogen interactions. Because of this central role in cellular metabolism, a precise knowledge of the biosynthetic pathways that are responsible for homeostatic regulation of methionine and AdoMet in plants has practical implications, particularly in herbicide design.

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