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Studies on the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids in Datura stramonium L. transformed root cultures: 2. On the relative contributions of L-arginine and L-ornithine to the formation of the tropane ring

Richard J. Robins, Adrian J. Parr and Nicholas J. Walton
Planta
Vol. 183, No. 2 (1991), pp. 196-201
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23380720
Page Count: 6
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Studies on the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids in Datura stramonium L. transformed root cultures: 2. On the relative contributions of L-arginine and L-ornithine to the formation of the tropane ring
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Abstract

The relative contributions made by the L-arginine/agmatine/N-carbamoylputrescine/putrescine and the L-ornithine/putrescine pathways to hyoscyamine formation have been investigated in a transformed root culture of Datura stramonium. The activity of either arginine decarboxylase (EC 4.1.1.19) or ornithine decarboxylase (EC 4.1.1.17) was suppressed in vivo by using the specific irreversible inhibitors of these activities, DL-α-difluoromethylarginine or DL-α-difluoromethylornithine, respectively. It was found that suppression of arginine decarboxylase resulted in a severe decrease in free and conjugated putrescine and in the putrescine-derived intermediates of hyoscyamine biosynthesis. In contrast, the suppression of ornithine decarboxylase activity stimulated an elevation of arginine decarboxylase and minimal loss of metabolites from the amine and alkaloid pools. The stimulation of arginine decarboxylase was not, however, sufficient to maintain the same potential rate of putrescine biosynthesis as in control tissue. It is concluded that (i) in Datura the two routes by which putrescine may be formed do not act in isolation from one another, (ii) arginine decarboxylase is the more important activity for hyoscyamine formation, and (iii) the formation of polyamines is favoured over the biosynthesis of tropane alkaloids. An interaction between putrescine metabolism and other amines is also indicated from a stimulation of tyramine accumulation seen at high levels of DL-α-difluoromethylornithine.

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