Title page for ETD etd-09302005-204631

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Owens, Daniel Kenneth
Author's Email Address dowens@vt.edu
URN etd-09302005-204631
Title Examination of 2-Oxoglutarate Dependant Dioxygenases Leading to the Production of Flavonols in Arabidopsis thaliana
Degree PhD
Department Biology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Winkel, Brenda S. J. Committee Chair
McDowell, John M. Committee Member
Rutherford, Charles L. Committee Member
Sible, Jill C. Committee Member
Walker, Richard A. Committee Member
  • 2-oxoglutarate dependant dioxygenases
  • Michaelis-Menten kinetics
  • flavanone 3-hydroxylase
  • flavonoid biosynthesis
  • flavonol synthase
Date of Defense 2005-09-22
Availability unrestricted

The flavonols are a varied and abundant sub-class of flavonoids that are associated with a number of essential physiological functions in plants and pharmacological activities in animals. The 2-oxoglutarate-dependant dioxygenases(2-ODDs), flavonol synthase (FLS) and flavanone 3-hydroxylase (F3H), are essential for flavonol synthesis. The primary goal of this study has been to gain a deeper understanding of the biochemistry of these enzymes in Arabidopsis.

To accomplish this goal, an activity assay employing recombinant protein expression and HPLC as a detection system was developed for F3H and adapted for use with FLS. The assay was employed to establish the biochemical parameters of F3H from Arabidopsis, and to further characterize the F3H mutant allele, tt6(87). Enzymatic activity was demonstrated for F3H enzymes from Ipomoea alba (moonflower), Ipomoea purpurea (common morning glory), Citrus sinensis (sweet orange), and Malus X domestica (newton apple), each of which had previously been identified solely based on sequence homology.

Arabidopsis contains six genes with high similarity to FLS from other plant species; however, all other central flavonoid pathway enzymes in Arabidopsis are encoded by single genes. The hypothesis that differential expression of FLS isozymes with varying substrate specificities is responsible for observed tissue-specific differences in flavonol accumulation was tested. Sequence analysis revealed that AtFLS2, 4 and 6 contain premature stop codons that eliminate residues essential for enzyme activity. AtFLS1 was found to have a strong preference for dihydrokaempferol as a substrate. However, no enzyme activity was observed for AtFLS3 or AtFLS5 with a number of different substrates under a variety of reaction conditions. To identify structural elements that may contribute to the observed differences in biochemical activity, homology models for each of the isoforms were generated utilizing Arabidopsis anthocyanin synthase (ANS) as a template. A domain at the N-terminus of AtFLS1 that is missing in the other isozymes was insufficient to convey activity to an AtFLS1/5 chimera. These findings suggest a single catalytically-active form of FLS exists in Arabidopsis. The possibility that the apparently expressed but non-catalytic proteins, AtFLS2, 3, and 5, serve noncatalytic roles in flavonol production were explored by yeast 2-hybrid analysis.

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