Farnesol is utilized for isoprenoid biosynthesis in plant cells via farnesyl pyrophosphate formed by successive monophosphorylation reactions

Long Thai, Jeffrey S. Rush, Jude E. Maul, Timothy Devarenne, Dana L. Rodgers, Joseph Chappell, Charles J. Waechter

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71 Scopus citations


The ability of Nicotiana tabacum cell cultures to utilize farnesol (F- OH) for sterol and sesquiterpene biosynthesis was investigated. [3H]F-OH was readily incorporated into sterols by rapidly growing cell cultures. However, the incorporation rate into sterols was reduced by greater than 70% in elicitor-treated cell cultures whereas a substantial proportion of the radioactivity was redirected into capsidiol, an extracellular sesquiterpene phytoalexin. The incorporation of [3H]F-OH into sterols was inhibited by squalestatin 1, suggesting that [3H]F-OH was incorporated via farnesyl pyrophosphate (F-P-P). Consistent with this possibility, N. tabacum proteins were metabolically labeled with [3H]F-OH or [3H]geranylgeraniol ([3H]GG- OH). Kinase activities converting F-OH to farnesyl monophosphate (F-P) and, subsequently, F-P-P were demonstrated directly by in vitro enzymatic studies. [3H]F-P and [3H]F-P-P were synthesized when exogenous [3H]F-OH was incubated with microsomal fractions and CTP. The kinetics of formation suggested a precursor-product relationship between [3H]F-P and [3H]F-P-P. In agreement with this kinetic pattern of labeling, [32P]F-P and [32P]F- P-P were synthesized when microsomal fractions were incubated with F-OH and F-P, respectively, with [γ-32P]CTP serving as the phosphoryl donor. Under similar conditions, the microsomal fractions catalyzed the enzymatic conversion of [3H]GG-OH to [3H]geranylgeranyl monophosphate and [3H]geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate ([3H]GG-P-P) in CTP-dependent reactions. A novel biosynthetic mechanism involving two successive monophosphorylation reactions was supported by the observation that [3H]CTP was formed when microsomes were incubated with [3H]CDP and either F-P-P or GG-P-P, but not F-P. These results document the presence of at least two CTP-mediated kinases that provide a mechanism for the utilization of F-OH and GG-OH for the biosynthesis of isoprenoid lipids and protein isoprenylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13080-13085
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 9 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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