Aspen Bibliography

Differential Substrate Inhibition Couples Kinetically Distinct 4-Coumarate:Coenzyme a Ligases With Spatially Distinct Metabolic Roles in Quaking Aspen

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Plant Physiology Rockville





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4-Coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL) activates hydroxycinnamates for entry into phenylpropanoid branchways that support various metabolic activities, including lignification and flavonoid biosynthesis. However, it is not clear whether and how 4CL proteins with their broad substrate specificities fulfill the specific hydroxycinnamate requirements of the branchways they supply. Two tissue-specific 4CLs, Pt4CL1 and Pt4CL2, have previously been cloned from quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), but whether they are catalytically adapted for the distinctive metabolic roles they are thought to support is not apparent from published biochemical data. Therefore, single- and mixed-substrate assays were conducted to determine whether the 4CLs from aspen exhibit clear catalytic identities under certain metabolic circumstances. Recombinant Pt4CL1 and Pt4CL2 exhibited the expected preference forp-coumarate in single-substrate assays, but strong competitive inhibition favored utilization of caffeate andp-coumarate, respectively, in mixed-substrate assays. The Pt4CL1 product, caffeoyl-CoA, predominated in mixed-substrate assays with xylem extract, and this was consistent with the near absence of Pt4CL2 expression in xylem tissue as determined by in situ hybridization. It is interesting that the Pt4CL2 product p-coumaroyl-CoA predominated in assays with developing leaf extract, although in situ hybridization revealed that both genes were coexpressed. The xylem extract and recombinant 4CL1 data allow us to advance a mechanism by which 4CL1 can selectively utilize caffeate for the support of monolignol biosynthesis in maturing xylem and phloem fibers. Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), in contrast, possesses a single 4CL protein exhibiting broad substrate specificity in mixed-substrate assays. We discuss these 4CL differences in terms of the contrasts in lignification between angiosperm trees and their gymnosperm progenitors.