Plant physiology

Reduced Arogenate Dehydratase Expression: Ramifications for Photosynthesis and Metabolism.

PMID 29523714


Arogenate dehydratase (ADT) catalyzes the final step of phenylalanine (Phe) biosynthesis. Previous work showed that ADT-deficient Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants had significantly reduced lignin contents, with stronger reductions in lines that had deficiencies in more ADT isoforms. Here, by analyzing Arabidopsis ADT mutants using our phenomics facility and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, we describe the effects of the modulation of ADT on photosynthetic parameters and secondary metabolism. Our data indicate that a reduced carbon flux into Phe biosynthesis in ADT mutants impairs the consumption of photosynthetically produced ATP, leading to an increased ATP/ADP ratio, the overaccumulation of transitory starch, and lower electron transport rates. The effect on electron transport rates is caused by an increase in proton motive force across the thylakoid membrane that down-regulates photosystem II activity by the high-energy quenching mechanism. Furthermore, quantitation of secondary metabolites in ADT mutants revealed reduced flavonoid, phenylpropanoid, lignan, and glucosinolate contents, including glucosinolates that are not derived from aromatic amino acids, and significantly increased contents of putative galactolipids and apocarotenoids. Additionally, we used real-time atmospheric monitoring mass spectrometry to compare respiration and carbon fixation rates between the wild type and adt3/4/5/6, our most extreme ADT knockout mutant, which revealed no significant difference in both night- and day-adapted plants. Overall, these data reveal the profound effects of altered ADT activity and Phe metabolism on secondary metabolites and photosynthesis with implications for plant improvement.