Plant physiology

Functional interactions between starch synthase III and isoamylase-type starch-debranching enzyme in maize endosperm.

PMID 22193705


This study characterized genetic interactions between the maize (Zea mays) genes dull1 (du1), encoding starch synthase III (SSIII), and isa2, encoding a noncatalytic subunit of heteromeric isoamylase-type starch-debranching enzyme (ISA1/ISA2 heteromer). Mutants lacking ISA2 still possess the ISA1 homomeric enzyme. Eight du1(-) mutations were characterized, and structural changes in amylopectin resulting from each were measured. In every instance, the same complex pattern of alterations in discontinuous spans of chain lengths was observed, which cannot be explained solely by a discrete range of substrates preferred by SSIII. Homozygous double mutants were constructed containing the null mutation isa2-339 and either du1-Ref, encoding a truncated SSIII protein lacking the catalytic domain, or the null allele du1-R4059. In contrast to the single mutant parents, double mutant endosperms affected in both SSIII and ISA2 were starch deficient and accumulated phytoglycogen. This phenotype was previously observed only in maize sugary1 mutants impaired for the catalytic subunit ISA1. ISA1 homomeric enzyme complexes assembled in both double mutants and were enzymatically active in vitro. Thus, SSIII is required for normal starch crystallization and the prevention of phytoglycogen accumulation when the only isoamylase-type debranching activity present is ISA1 homomer, but not in the wild-type condition, when both ISA1 homomer and ISA1/ISA2 heteromer are present. Previous genetic and biochemical analyses showed that SSIII also is required for normal glucan accumulation when the only isoamylase-type debranching enzyme activity present is ISA1/ISA heteromer. These data indicate that isoamylase-type debranching enzyme and SSIII work in a coordinated fashion to repress phytoglycogen accumulation.