Journal Article

Contribution of the GABA shunt to hypoxia-induced alanine accumulation in roots of <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i>

Yo Miyashita and Allen G. Good

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 49, issue 1, pages 92-102
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcm171
Contribution of the GABA shunt to hypoxia-induced alanine accumulation in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana

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

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When subjected to low oxygen stress, plants accumulate alanine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). To investigate the function of GABA metabolism under hypoxia and its contribution to alanine accumulation, we studied the genes that encode the two key enzymes of the GABA shunt, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) and GABA transaminase (GABA-T). Among the five homologous GAD genes found in Arabidopsis thaliana, GAD1 expression was predominantly found in roots, while GAD2 expression was evident in all organs. Expression of the other three GAD genes was generally weak. In response to hypoxia, transcriptional induction was observed for GAD4 only. For GABA-T1, its expression was detected in all organs, but there was no significant transcriptional change under hypoxic conditions. Moreover, we have isolated and characterized Arabidopsis mutants defective in GAD1 and GABA-T1. In gad1 mutants, GAD activity was significantly reduced in roots but was not affected in shoots. In the gaba-t1 mutant, GABA-T activity was decreased to negligible levels in both shoots and roots. These mutants were phenotypically normal under normal growth conditions except for the reduced seed production of the pop2 mutants as described previously. However, metabolite analysis revealed significant changes in GABA content in gad1 and gaba-t1 mutants. The levels of alanine under hypoxic conditions were also affected in the roots of gad1 and gaba-t1 mutants. The partial inhibition of the hypoxia-induced alanine accumulation in roots of these mutants suggests that the GABA shunt is, in part, responsible for the alanine accumulation under hypoxia.

Keywords: Alanine — Amino acid metabolism — Anaerobic stress — GABA — Hypoxia — Low oxygen stress

Journal Article.  7179 words.  Illustrated.

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

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