Jasmonates (JAs) are lipid-derived signals in plant stress responses and development. A crucial step in JA biosynthesis is catalyzed by allene oxide cyclase (AOC). Four genes encoding functional AOCs (AOC1, AOC2, AOC3 and AOC4) have been characterized for Arabidopsis thaliana
in terms of organ- and tissue-specific expression, mutant phenotypes, promoter activities and initial in vivo
protein interaction studies suggesting functional redundancy and diversification, including first hints at enzyme activity control by protein-protein interaction. Here, these analyses were extended by detailed analysis of recombinant proteins produced in Escherichia coli
. Treatment of purified AOC2 with SDS at different temperatures, chemical cross-linking experiments and protein structure analysis by molecular modelling approaches were performed. Several salt bridges between monomers and a hydrophobic core within the AOC2 trimer were identified and functionally proven by site-directed mutagenesis. The data obtained showed that AOC2 acts as a trimer. Finally, AOC activity was determined in heteromers formed by pairwise combinations of the four AOC isoforms. The highest activities were found for heteromers containing AOC4 + AOC1 and AOC4 + AOC2, respectively. All data are in line with an enzyme activity control of all four AOCs by heteromerization, thereby supporting a putative fine-tuning in JA formation by various regulatory principles.
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