Several soybean (Glycine max) germplasms, such as Nishiyamahitashi 98-5 (NH), have an intense seaweed-like flavor after cooking because of their high seed S-methylmethionine (SMM) content. In this study, we compared the amounts of amino acids in the phloem sap, leaves, pods, and seeds between NH and the common soybean cultivar Fukuyutaka. This revealed a comparably higher SMM content alongside a higher free Met content in NH seeds, suggesting that the SMM-hyperaccumulation phenotype of NH soybean was related to Met metabolism in seeds. To investigate the molecular mechanism behind SMM hyperaccumulation, we examined the phenotype-associated gene locus in NH plants. Analyses of the quantitative trait loci in segregated offspring of the cross between NH and the common soybean cultivar Williams 82 indicated that one locus on chromosome 10 explains 71.4% of SMM hyperaccumulation. Subsequent fine-mapping revealed that a transposon insertion into the intron of a gene, Glyma.10g172700, is associated with the SMM-hyperaccumulation phenotype. The Glyma.10g172700-encoded recombinant protein showed Met-γ-lyase (MGL) activity in vitro, and the transposon-insertion mutation in NH efficiently suppressed Glyma.10g172700 expression in developing seeds. Exogenous administration of Met to sections of developing soybean seeds resulted in transient increases in Met levels, followed by continuous increases in SMM concentrations, which was likely caused by Met methyltransferase activity in the seeds. Accordingly, we propose that the SMM-hyperaccumulation phenotype is caused by suppressed MGL expression in developing soybean seeds, resulting in transient accumulation of Met, which is converted into SMM to avoid the harmful effects caused by excess free Met.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science