Plant physiology

Heterologous expression and biochemical characterization of a polyamine oxidase from Arabidopsis involved in polyamine back conversion.

PMID 16778015


Polyamine oxidase (PAO) is a flavin adenine dinucleotide-dependent enzyme involved in polyamine catabolism. Animal PAOs oxidize spermine (Spm), spermidine (Spd), and/or their acetyl derivatives to produce H2O2, an aminoaldehyde, and Spd or putrescine, respectively, thus being involved in a polyamine back-conversion pathway. On the contrary, plant PAOs that have been characterized to date oxidize Spm and Spd to produce 1,3-diaminopropane, H2O2, and an aminoaldehyde and are therefore involved in the terminal catabolism of polyamines. A database search within the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome sequence showed the presence of a gene (AtPAO1) encoding for a putative PAO with 45% amino acid sequence identity with maize (Zea mays) PAO. The AtPAO1 cDNA was isolated and cloned in a vector for heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. The recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography on guazatine-Sepharose 4B and was shown to be a flavoprotein able to oxidize Spm, norspermine, and N1-acetylspermine with a pH optimum at 8.0. Analysis of the reaction products showed that AtPAO1 produces Spd from Spm and norspermidine from norspermine, demonstrating a substrate oxidation mode similar to that of animal PAOs. To our knowledge, AtPAO1 is the first plant PAO reported to be involved in a polyamine back-conversion pathway.