Title page for ETD etd-03172009-121446

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Alford, Shannon Recca
URN etd-03172009-121446
Title Molecular Characterization of Two myo-Inositol Oxygenases in Arabidopsis thaliana
Degree PhD
Department Biochemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gillaspy, Glenda E. Committee Chair
Grabau, Elizabeth A. Committee Member
McDowell, John M. Committee Member
Tu, Zhijian Jake Committee Member
White, Robert H. Committee Member
  • inositol trisphosphate
  • myo-inositol oxygenase
  • gas chromatography
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • phosphatidylinositol
  • ascorbic acid
  • D-glucuronic acid
Date of Defense 2009-02-12
Availability unrestricted
Understanding how plants respond to stress is of importance, considering the increasing need to feed a growing population and supply its energy. Plants have complex systems for detecting, and responding to stresses. One stress-responsive system involves myo-inositol (Ins). Ins is a precursor for cell wall components, inositol trisphosphate (Ins(1,4,5)P3) and phosphatidylinositol phosphate signaling molecules, and an alternate ascorbic acid (AsA) synthesis pathway. The enzyme, myo-inositol oxygenase (MIOX) is encoded by four genes in Arabidopsis and catalyzes the first step of Ins catabolism producing D-glucuronic acid (DGlcA).

This research focuses on MIOX metabolism of Ins during plant growth and stress responses. I have examined miox mutants for alterations in metabolism and signaling. MIOX2 and MIOX4 expression patterns correlate with miox mutant root growth in varying nutrient conditions, and changes in flowering time. In miox2 mutants, I found an increase in Ins in most tissues, which was accompanied by cold- and abscisic (ABA)- sensitivity; however, miox4 mutants are ABA- insensitive, and have a small increase of Ins in flowers. MIOX2:GFP fusion protein accumulates in the cytoplasm and MIOX4:GFP accumulates in the cytoplasm and nucleus.

Overexpresser MIOX4+ plants provide a model system to examine how directing carbon from Ins into DGlcA impacts Ins levels and Ins signaling. I have examined MIOX4+ plants for alterations in MIOX4 RNA and protein, and measured Ins by gas chromatography (GC). My results indicate that MIOX4+ tissues are impacted differently by the MIOX4 transgene, with decreases in Ins after seed imbibition, and increased Ins levels later in development. Ins depletion in seedlings was correlated with a decrease in Ins(1,4,5)P3. To determine the impact of reducing Ins and Ins(1,4,5)P3 in MIOX4+ seedlings, I examined processes known to involve Ins(1,4,5)P3 signaling. MIOX4+ seed have increased seed dormancy, NaCl-sensitivity, and ABA-insensitivity. These results suggest MIOX affects Ins signaling in response to ABA. Together, these data indicate that transcriptional control of MIOX2 and MIOX4 results in distinct roles in plant growth, and that MIOX2 and MIOX4 function in metabolic and signaling processes critical for growth, nutrient sensing, and stress responses.

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