Arabinosylation of hydroxyproline (Hyp) is a post-translational modification often found in secreted peptide signals in plants. The physiological importance of this modification was highlighted by the finding that CLAVATA3 (CLV3), a key peptide signal for regulating the fate of stem cells in the shoot apical meristem in Arabidopsis, contains three l-arabinose residues linked via linear β-1,2-linkages. However, understanding the functions and properties of arabinosylated peptides has been hindered by difficulties in synthesizing the complex arabinose chain. Here we report the stereoselective total synthesis of β-1,2-linked triarabinosylated CLV3 peptide ([Ara3]CLV3). Chemically synthesized [Ara3]CLV3 restricted stem cell activity more effectively than did unmodified CLV3 peptide. Comparison of mono-, di- and triarabinosylated CLV3 glycopeptides revealed that the biological activity increased progressively as the arabinose chain length increased. Thus, the arabinose chain length of CLV3 is important for its biological activity. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and nuclear Overhauser effect-based structure calculations further revealed the structural impact of the arabinose chain on peptide conformation. The arabinose chain of [Ara3]CLV3 extends toward the C-terminal end of the peptide, and its non-reducing end is positioned proximal to the peptide backbone. Consequently, the arabinose chain causes distinct distortion in the C-terminal half of the peptide in a highly directional manner. The established synthetic route of [Ara3]CLV3 will greatly contribute to our understanding of the biology and biochemistry of arabinosylated peptide signals in plants.
Keywords: Arabinose; Meristem; Peptide hormone; Post-translational modification
Journal Article. 3310 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry