Biochemical Characterization of Plant Small CTD Phosphatases and Application of CTD Phosphatase Mutant in Hyperaccumulation of Flavonoids in Arabidopsis
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In addition to AtCPL1-4, the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a large number of putative acid phosphatases. The predicted Arabidopsis SCP1-like small phosphatases (SSP) are highly homologous to the catalytic domain of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II carboxyl terminal domain (pol II CTD) phosphatases. Among the family members, SSP4, SSP4b and SSP5 form a unique group characterized by long N-terminal extensions. These three SSPs showed similar and ubiquitous gene expression. SSP4 and SSP4b were localized exclusively in the nuclei, while SSP5 accumulated both in the nucleus and cytoplasm. In vitro observation revealed that SSP4 and SSP4b dephosphorylated the pol II CTD-PO4 at both Ser2 and Ser5 in the conserved heptad repeats; however, SSP5 dephosphorylated only Ser5 of CTD-PO4. These results indicate that Arabidopsis SSP family encodes active CTD phosphatases similarly to animal SCP1 family proteins and plant CPLs family proteins, but with distinct substrate specificities. ssp mutants did not exhibit phenotypic abnormalities under normal growth conditions. However, ssp5 single mutants and ssp4 ssp4b ssp5 triple mutants showed enhanced sensitivity to ABA and glucose during seed germination. Yet, increased ABA-inducible gene expressions were not distinguishable in triple mutants compared to wild type plants upon ABA treatment. Unlike the ssp mutations, the cpl1 mutation strongly induced RD29A expression in response to cold, ABA and NaCl treatments. Thus, the cpl1 mutant is an ideal genetic background for an inducible gene expression system, in which the detrimental effect to host plants caused by a conventional constitutive expression could be avoided. Production of flavonoid such as anthocyanins in Arabidopsis is relatively easy to monitor and is regulated by transcription factors such as PAP1. PAP1 activates the expression of multiple enzymes in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway; however, high level of flavonoid production could cause vegetative growth retardation. To optimize flavonoid accumulation, a three-component system was designed consisting of a cold inducible RD29A-PAP1 expression cassette, a feedforward effector RD29A-CBF3, and a mutation in host repressor CPL1. Transgenic cpl1 plants containing both homozygous PAP1 and CBF3 transgenes produced 30-fold higher level of total anthocyanins than control plants upon cold treatment. LC/MS/MS analysis showed the flavonoid profile in cold-induced transgenic plants resembled that of previously reported pap1-D plants but were enriched for kaempferol derivatives. Furthermore, PAP1 and environmental signals synergistically regulate flavonoid pathway to produce a flavonoid blend that has not been produced by PAP1 overexpression or cold treatment alone. These results delineate the usability of the three-component inducible system in plant metabolic engineering.
Feng, Yue (2010). Biochemical Characterization of Plant Small CTD Phosphatases and Application of CTD Phosphatase Mutant in Hyperaccumulation of Flavonoids in Arabidopsis. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from