The Level of Methionine Residues in Storage Proteins Is the Main Limiting Factor of Protein-Bound-Methionine Accumulation in Arabidopsis Seeds

Authors Organisations
  • Aiswarya Girija(Author)
    MIGAL-Galilee Research Institute
  • David Shotan(Author)
    MIGAL-Galilee Research Institute
    Tel-Hai College
  • Yael Hacham(Author)
    MIGAL-Galilee Research Institute
    Tel-Hai College
  • Rachel Amir(Author)
    MIGAL-Galilee Research Institute
    Tel-Hai College
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number1136
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume11
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 05 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes
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Abstract

The low level of methionine, an essential sulfur-containing amino acid, limits the nutritional quality of seeds. Two main factors can control the level of protein-bound methionine: the level of free methionine that limits protein accumulation and the methionine residues inside the storage proteins. To reveal the main limiting factor, we generated transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana seed-specific plants expressing the methionine-rich sunflower seed storage (SSA) protein (A1/A2). The contents of protein-bound methionine in the water-soluble protein fraction that includes the SSA in A1/A2 were 5.3- and 10.5-fold, respectively, compared to control, an empty vector (EV). This suggests that free methionine can support this accumulation. To elucidate if the level of free methionine could be increased further in the protein-bound methionine, these lines were crossed with previously characterized plants having higher levels of free methionine in seeds (called SSE). The progenies of the crosses (A1S, A2S) exhibited the highest level of protein-bound methionine, but this level did not differ significantly from A2, suggesting that all the methionine residues of A2 were filled with methionine. It also suggests that the content of methionine residues in the storage proteins is the main limiting factor. The results also proposed that the storage proteins can change their content in response to high levels of free methionine or SSA. This was assumed since the water-soluble protein fraction was highest in A1S/A2S as well as in SSE compared to EV and A1/A2. By using these seeds, we also aimed at gaining more knowledge about the link between high free methionine and the levels of metabolites that usually accumulate during abiotic stresses. This putative connection was derived from a previous analysis of SSE. The results of metabolic profiling showed that the levels of 29 and 20 out of the 56 metabolites were significantly higher in SSE and A1, respectively, that had higher level of free methionine, compared A1S/A2S, which had lower free methionine levels. This suggests a strong link between high free methionine and the accumulation of stress-associated metabolites.

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