Spatial organization of the vindoline biosynthetic pathway in Catharanthus roseus

Grégory Guirimand, Anthony Guihur, Pierre Poutrain, François Héricourt, Samira Mahroug, Benoit St-Pierre, Vincent Burlat, Vincent Courdavault
Journal of Plant Physiology 2011 April 15, 168 (6): 549-57
Vindoline constitutes the main terpenoid indole alkaloid accumulated in leaves of Catharanthus roseus, and four genes involved in its biosynthesis have been identified. However, the spatial organization of the tabersonine-to-vindoline biosynthetic pathway is still incomplete. To pursue the characterization of this six-step conversion, we illustrated, with in situ hybridization, that the transcripts of the second biosynthetic enzyme, 16-hydroxytabersonine 16-O-methyltransferase (16OMT), are specifically localized to the aerial organ epidermis. At the subcellular level, by combining GFP imaging, bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays and yeast two-hybrid analysis, we established that the first biosynthetic enzyme, tabersonine 16-hydroxylase (T16H), is anchored to the ER as a monomer via a putative N-terminal helix that we cloned using a PCR approach. We also showed that 16OMT homodimerizes in the cytoplasm, allowing its exclusion from the nucleus and thus facilitating the uptake of T16H conversion product, although no T16H/16OMT interactions occur. Moreover, the two last biosynthetic enzymes, desacetoxyvindoline-4-hydroxylase (D4H) and deacetylvindoline-4-O-acetyltransferase (DAT), were shown to operate as monomers that reside in the nucleocytoplasmic compartment following passive diffusion to the nucleus allowed by the protein size. No D4H/DAT interactions were detected, suggesting the absence of metabolic channeling in the vindoline biosynthetic pathway. Finally, these results highlight the importance of the inter- and intracellular translocations of intermediates during the vindoline biosynthesis and their potential regulatory role.

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