Comparative analysis of plant isochorismate synthases reveals structural mechanisms underlying their distinct biochemical properties

Shohei Yokoo, Seiya Inoue, Nana Suzuki, Naho Amakawa, Hidenori Matsui, Hirofumi Nakagami, Akira Takahashi, Ryoichi Arai, Shinpei Katou

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Isochorismate synthase (ICS) converts chorismate into isochorismate, a precursor of primary and secondary metabolites including salicylic acid (SA). SA plays important roles in responses to stress conditions in plants. Many studies have suggested that the function of plant ICSs is regulated at the transcriptional level. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the expression of AtICS1 is induced by stress conditions in parallel with SA synthesis, and AtICS1 is required for SA synthesis. In contrast, the expression of NtICS is not induced when SA synthesis is activated in tobacco, and it is unlikely to be involved in SA synthesis. Studies on the biochemical properties of plant ICSs are limited, compared with those on transcriptional regulation. We analyzed the biochemical properties of four plant ICSs: AtICS1, NtICS, NbICS from Nicotiana benthamiana, and OsICS from rice. Multiple sequence alignment analysis revealed that their primary structures were well conserved, and predicted key residues for ICS activity were almost completely conserved. However, AtICS1 showed much higher activity than the other ICSs when expressed in Escherichia coli and N. benthamiana leaves. Moreover, the levels of AtICS1 protein expression in N. benthamiana leaves were higher than the other ICSs. Construction and analysis of chimeras between AtICS1 and OsICS revealed that the putative chloroplast transit peptides (TPs) significantly affected the levels of protein accumulation in N. benthamiana leaves. Chimeric and point-mutation analyses revealed that Thr531, Ser537, and Ile550 of AtICS1 are essential for its high activity. These distinct biochemical properties of plant ICSs may suggest different roles in their respective plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBSR20171457
JournalBioscience Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 9 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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