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Plant Physiol. 1999 Feb;119(2):471-80.

Cloning of nicotianamine synthase genes, novel genes involved in the biosynthesis of phytosiderophores.

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Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, The University of Tokyo, 1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, 113-8657 Tokyo, Japan.


Nicotianamine synthase (NAS), the key enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway for the mugineic acid family of phytosiderophores, catalyzes the trimerization of S-adenosylmethionine to form one molecule of nicotianamine. We purified NAS protein and isolated the genes nas1, nas2, nas3, nas4, nas5-1, nas5-2, and nas6, which encode NAS and NAS-like proteins from Fe-deficient barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv Ehimehadaka no. 1) roots. Escherichia coli expressing nas1 showed NAS activity, confirming that this gene encodes a functional NAS. Expression of nas genes as determined by northern-blot analysis was induced by Fe deficiency and was root specific. The NAS genes form a multigene family in the barley and rice genomes.

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