Journal Article

Isolation and Characterization of the Cytochrome P450 Gene <i>CYP82E5v2</i> that Mediates Nicotine to Nornicotine Conversion in the Green Leaves of Tobacco

Lily B. Gavilano and Balazs Siminszky

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 48, issue 11, pages 1567-1574
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcm128
Isolation and Characterization of the Cytochrome P450 Gene CYP82E5v2 that Mediates Nicotine to Nornicotine Conversion in the Green Leaves of Tobacco

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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In the species of genus Nicotiana, nicotine to nornicotine conversion is mediated by closely related nicotine N-demethylase (NND) proteins that are encoded by the CYP82E subfamily of cytochrome P450 genes. The diverse number and transcriptional regulation of the NND genes have created large variations in the time and rate of nornicotine production in various Nicotiana species. In tobacco, previous studies have identified the senescence-inducible CYP82E4 gene as an important factor controlling nicotine conversion. Nornicotine is an undesirable alkaloid in tobacco, because it serves as a precursor for N′-nitrosonornicotine, a potent carcinogen in laboratory animals. The objective of this study was to investigate the possible catalytic roles of additional NND genes in shaping the alkaloid profile of tobacco. A PCR-based strategy using primers complementary to conserved regions of CYP82E genes yielded a cDNA, designated CYP82E5v2, which conferred NND activity in heterologous expression studies using yeast as a host. PCR amplification of CYP82E5v2 orthologs revealed that of the two progenitor species of tobacco, CYP82E5v2 was donated by the N. tomentosiformis parent. A comparison of CYP82E4 and CYP82E5v2 expression using qualitative real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that the transcription of CYP82E5v2 was higher in the green leaves of all tobacco genotypes tested, while the expression of CYP82E4 dominated in the senescing leaves of converter tobacco. These results suggest that differentially regulated NND genes regulate nornicotine production in the green and senescing leaves of tobacco and provide tools to reduce nornicotine levels in tobacco leaves.

Keywords: CYP; Evolution; Phenotypic diversity; Promoter

Journal Article.  5164 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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