Japanese morning glory (Pharbitis nil) is a model plant characterized by a large stock of spontaneous mutants. The recessive mutant Uzukobito shows strong dwarfism with dark-green rugose leaves. The phenotype was rescued by the application of brassinolide, a bioactive brassinosteroid (BR), indicating that Uzukobito was a BR-deficient mutant. A detailed analysis of the endogenous BR levels in Uzukobito and its parental wild-type plant showed that Uzukobito had a lower level of BRs downstream of (24R)-24-methyl-5α-cholestan-3-one and (22S, 24R)-22-hydroxy-24-methyl-5α-cholestan-3-one than those in wild-type plants, while their immediate precursors (24R)-24-methylcholest-4-en- 3-one and (22S, 24R)-22-hydroxy-24-methylcholest-4-en-3-one accumulated relatively more in Uzukobito. These results indicate that Uzukobito had a defect in the conversion of (24R)-24-methylcholest-4-en-3-one and (22S, 24R)-22-hydroxy-24-methylcholest-4-en-3-one to their 5α-reduced forms, which is catalyzed by de-etiolated2 (DET2) in Arabidopsis. The P. nil ortholog of the DET2 gene (PnDET2) was cloned and shown to have the greatest similarity to DET2 among all the putative genes in Arabidopsis. Uzukobito had one amino acid substitution from Glu62 to Val62 in the deduced amino acid sequence of PnDET2. Recombinant PnDET2 expressed in COS-7 cells was found to be a functional steroid 5α-reductase (S5αR) converting (24R)-24-methylcholest-4-en-3-one to (24R)-24-methyl-5α-cholestan-3-one, while PnDET2 with the mutation did not show any catalytic activity. This shows that a plant S5αR can convert an intrinsic substrate. All these results clearly demonstrate that the Uzukobito phenotype resulted from a mutation on PnDET2, and a morphological mutant has been characterized at the molecular level among a large stock of P. nil mutants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology