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Plant Cell. 1998 Sep;10(9):1523-37.

PIOX, a new pathogen-induced oxygenase with homology to animal cyclooxygenase.

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, CSIC, Campus Universidad Autónoma, Cantoblanco, E-28049 Madrid, Spain.


Changes in gene expression induced in tobacco leaves by the harpin HrpN protein elicitor were examined, and a new cDNA, piox (for pathogen-induced oxygenase), with homology to genes encoding cyclooxygenase or prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase (PGHS), was identified. In addition to the amino acid identity determined, the protein encoded by piox is predicted to have a structural core similar to that of ovine PGHS-1. Moreover, studies of protein functionality demonstrate that the PIOX recombinant protein possesses at least one of the two enzymatic activities of PGHSs, that of catalyzing the oxygenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. piox transcripts accumulated after protein elicitor treatment or inoculation with bacteria. Expression of piox was induced in tissues responding to inoculation with both incompatible and compatible bacteria, but RNA and protein accumulation differed for both types of interactions. We show that expression of piox is rapidly induced in response to various cellular signals mediating plant responses to pathogen infection and that activation of piox expression is most likely related to the oxidative burst that takes place during the cell death processes examined. Cyclooxygenase catalyzes the first committed step in the formation of prostaglandins and thromboxanes, which are lipid-derived signal molecules that mediate many cellular processes, including the immune response in vertebrates. The finding of tobacco PIOX suggests that more similarities than hitherto expected will be found between the lipid-based responses for plant and animal systems.

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