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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(3), 526;

β-N-Oxalyl-l-α,β-diaminopropionic Acid (β-ODAP) Content in Lathyrus sativus: The Integration of Nitrogen and Sulfur Metabolism through β-Cyanoalanine Synthase

College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
Plant Genetics Research Unit, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, 108 Curtis Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marcello Iriti
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses)
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Grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) is an important legume crop grown mainly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This underutilized legume can withstand harsh environmental conditions including drought and flooding. During drought-induced famines, this protein-rich legume serves as a food source for poor farmers when other crops fail under harsh environmental conditions; however, its use is limited because of the presence of an endogenous neurotoxic nonprotein amino acid β-N-oxalyl-l-α,β-diaminopropionic acid (β-ODAP). Long-term consumption of Lathyrus and β-ODAP is linked to lathyrism, which is a degenerative motor neuron syndrome. Pharmacological studies indicate that nutritional deficiencies in methionine and cysteine may aggravate the neurotoxicity of β-ODAP. The biosynthetic pathway leading to the production of β-ODAP is poorly understood, but is linked to sulfur metabolism. To date, only a limited number of studies have been conducted in grass pea on the sulfur assimilatory enzymes and how these enzymes regulate the biosynthesis of β-ODAP. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of sulfur metabolism in grass pea and its contribution to β-ODAP biosynthesis. Unraveling the fundamental steps and regulation of β-ODAP biosynthesis in grass pea will be vital for the development of improved varieties of this underutilized legume. View Full-Text
Keywords: β-cyanoalanine synthase; β-ODAP; Lathyrus sativus; nitrogen; sulfur β-cyanoalanine synthase; β-ODAP; Lathyrus sativus; nitrogen; sulfur

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Xu, Q.; Liu, F.; Chen, P.; Jez, J.M.; Krishnan, H.B. β-N-Oxalyl-l-α,β-diaminopropionic Acid (β-ODAP) Content in Lathyrus sativus: The Integration of Nitrogen and Sulfur Metabolism through β-Cyanoalanine Synthase. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 526.

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