Journal Article

Ectopic Expression of an Esterase, Which is a Candidate for the Unidentified Plant Cutinase, Causes Cuticular Defects in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i>

Kentaro Takahashi, Tomoo Shimada, Maki Kondo, Atsushi Tamai, Masashi Mori, Mikio Nishimura and Ikuko Hara-Nishimura

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 51, issue 1, pages 123-131
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcp173
Ectopic Expression of an Esterase, Which is a Candidate for the Unidentified Plant Cutinase, Causes Cuticular Defects in Arabidopsis thaliana

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

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Cutinase is an esterase that degrades the polyester cutin, a major component of the plant cuticle. Although cutinase activity has been detected in pollen, the genes encoding this enzyme have not been identified. Here, we report the identification and characterization of Arabidopsis CDEF1 (cuticle destructing factor 1), a novel candidate gene encoding cutinase. CDEF1 encodes a member of the GDSL lipase/esterase family of proteins, although fungal and bacterial cutinases belong to the α/β hydrolase superfamily which is different from the GDSL lipase/esterase family. According to the AtGenExpress microarray data, CDEF1 is predominantly expressed in pollen. The ectopic expression of CDEF1 driven by the 35S promoter caused fusion of organs, including leaves, stems and flowers, and increased surface permeability. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that the cuticle of the transgenic plants was often disrupted and became discontinuous. Subcellular analysis with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged CDEF1 showed that the protein is secreted to the extracellular space in leaves. The recombinant CDEF1 protein has esterase activity. These results are consistent with cutinase being secreted from cells and directly degrading the polyester in the cuticle. CDEF1 promoter activity was detected in mature pollen and pollen tubes, suggesting that CDEF1 is involved in the penetration of the stigma by pollen tubes. Additionally, we found CDEF1 expression at the zone of lateral root emergence, which suggests that CDEF1 degrades cell wall components to facilitate the emergence of the lateral roots. Our findings suggest that CDEF1 is a candidate gene for the unidentified plant cutinase.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Cuticle; Cutinase; GDSL lipase/esterase family; Lateral root; Pollen

Journal Article.  5580 words.  Illustrated.

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

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