Biosynthesis of lysine in plants: Evidence for a variant of the known bacterial pathways

Andre O. Hudson, Christine Bless, Polliana MacEdo, Siba P. Chatterjee, Bijay K. Singh, Charles Gilvarg, Thomas Leustek

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52 Scopus citations


With the aim of elucidating how plants synthesize lysine, extracts prepared from corn, tobacco, Chlamydomonas and soybean were tested and found to lack detectable amounts of N-α-acyl-l,l-diaminopimelate deacylase or N-succinyl-α-amino-ε-ketopimelate-glutamate aminotransaminase, two key enzymes in the central part of the bacterial pathway for lysine biosynthesis. Corn extracts missing two key enzymes still carried out the overall synthesis of lysine when provided with dihydrodipicolinate. An analysis of available plant DNA sequences was performed to test the veracity of the negative biochemical findings. Orthologs of dihydrodipicolinate reductase and diaminopimelate epimerase (enzymes on each side of the central pathway) were readily found in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome. Orthologs of the known enzymes needed to convert tetrahydrodipicolinate to diaminopimelic acid (DAP) were not detected in Arabidopsis or in the plant DNA sequence databases. The biochemical and reinforcing bioinformatics results provide evidence that plants may use a novel variant of the bacterial pathways for lysine biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 19 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • Amino acid metabolism
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Diaminopimelate
  • Dihydrodipicolinate
  • Lysine
  • Plant


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