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THERMOTOLERANT VARIANTS OF MAIZE ENDOSPERM ADENOSINE
DIPHOSPHATE GLUCOSE PYROPHOSPHORYLASE
BRIAN TIMOTHY BURGER
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Brian Timothy Burger
To my mother and father, and to the memory of my grandfather, Charles William Burger.
I would first like to thank Dr. Curt Hannah for affording me the opportunity to
study in his laboratory. The time spent under his direction has been invaluable and I am
indebted to him for his encouragement and support.
I would also like to extend thanks to Dr. Tom Greene for his guidance in the
earliest and most influential stages of my graduate career. I also thank the members of
the Hannah lab for their time and assistance in showing me around the lab. Special
thanks go to Dr. Don McCarty and Dr. Rob Ferl for their insight and helpful discussions
regarding my thesis.
I would also like to thank my family. Their support for my education made this
thesis possible, and their pride in my accomplishments made this thesis worthwhile.
Finally, I would like to thank Judy Wolfe for her patience, understanding, and sacrifice
without which this thesis would not have been possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv
ABSTRACT ............... ................... .......... .............. vi
1 IN TR OD U CTION ................................. .. ... ... ....... .... ............ ..
S ta rc h ....................................................... 1
Im p o rta n c e ............................................................................................................ 1
Structure .............. ......... .......................................................................... .............. 1
Biosynthesis .................. ................... .. ............................... ......... 2
Adenosine Diphosphate Glucose Pyrophosphorylase .................................... 4
E n zy m o lo g y .................................................................. ................................ . 4
S tru ctu re .................................................... 6
Regulation ................. ...................... ........................... 7
L ocalization ............................ ............. ...... 8
H eat Stability ....................... .......................................................... 9
B ack group n d .......................................................................................... . 9
Heat-Stable Mutant .\,h_'2,33........................... ........ ......... 11
2 MATERIALS AND METHODS................................. ................... 13
Mutagenesis and Mutant Selection ................................. ......................... ...13
E n zy m o lo g y ............................................................................................ .............. 17
Gel Filtration Chromatography ....................................... .. .............. 19
3 R E S U L T S ..................................................................2 1
S equ en cin g ..................................................... 2 1
In vitro Enzyme Assays ................................................ .............. 25
Relative Specific Activities of Heat-Sensitive and Heat-Stable Mutants .................. 28
4 D ISC U S SIO N ............................................................................... 34
LIST O F REFEREN CE S ..................................................................................................39
BIO G RA PH ICA L SK ETCH ..................................................................................... 45
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
THERMOLTOLERANT VARIANTS OF MAIZE ENDOSPERM
ADENOSINE DIPHOSPHATE GLUCOSE PYROPHOSPHORYLASE
Brian Timothy Burger
Chairman: L. Curtis Hannah
Major Department: Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology
Adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) has received
considerable study because of its allosteric regulation and rate-limiting role in starch
biosynthesis. Further, heat liability of AGPase has been implicated in heat-induced yield
loss in cereals. A previous study in this laboratory identified a heat-stable mutant
(.\'h/i2/3) with a single amino acid substitution in the large subunit of maize endosperm
AGPase. In this study bacterial expression of AGPase combined with a novel
mutagenesis scheme allowed us to identify temperature sensitive mutants of the large
subunit of maize endosperm AGPase. Two such mutants, Sh2ts48 and Sh2ts60, fully
complement the E. coli glgC- (AGPase) mutation at 370C, but not at 300C. We
mutagenized these mutants and isolated second-site reversion mutants (Sh2rts60-1 and
Sh2rts48-2) with restored glycogen synthesis at 300C. The second-site reversion
mutations, separated from their respective parental mutations, confer limited heat stability
to the enzyme. However, combining the mutation of./h'h/,'33 with the second-site
reversion mutation of Sh2rts48-2 results in an enzyme with 83% retention of activity
after heat treatment and a nearly three-fold increase in activity compared to wild-type.
This study shows the feasibility of isolating mutations affecting enzyme stability, and
allows a more focused approach to understanding regions important in the structure-
function relationship of maize endosperm AGPase.
In terms of its benefit to humankind, starch can be considered one of the most
important products synthesized by plants. Starch constitutes most of the dry matter in the
harvested organs of crop plants, and thus serves as the major source of calories in both
human and animal diets. That synthesized in the harvested organs of wheat, rice, maize
and potato alone exceeds 109 ton yr- (Kossman and Lloyd, 2000). Additionally, starch
can be considered a renewable resource used in many industrial applications.
In the U.S., corn is the major cereal crop, planted on 70 to 80 million acres
annually and appearing in more than 1200 items in a typical grocery store (Hallauer,
2001). In addition to foodstuffs, corn is used predominantly as livestock feed, but also in
wet and dry milling, and as an export product. In recent years, corn has also been used to
produce ethanol for corn-based fuels. The mature corn kernel is approximately 70%
starch, and thus its importance is inextricably linked to its starch content.
Starch exists in a semi-crystalline state composed predominantly of the glucose
polymers amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is an essentially linear polymer whose
approximate 1000 glucose units are joined through a-1,4-glycosidic bonds. It does
contain roughly 0.1% a-1,6-glycosidic branchpoints. Amylose comprises approximately
30% of the composition of starch, but varies among species, varieties, plant organs,
developmental age of the plant, and growth conditions. Detherage et al. (1955) found
that amylose content ranged from 1 Ito 35% in 51 species studied, and from 20 to 36% in
a survey of 399 maize varieties. Amylopectin comprises the remaining approximate 70%
of starch. This polymer also consists of a-1,4-linked glucan chains, but contains
approximately 4% a-1,6-glycosidic branchpoints. Amylopectin (107-109 Da) is larger
than amylose (105-106 Da), and is sufficient to form starch granules in the absence of
amylose (Ball et al., 1996). The remaining components of starch include proteins (0.5%
in cereal endosperm and 0.05% in potato tuber), including the enzymes of the starch
biosynthetic pathway, and lipids (1% in cereal endosperm and 0.1% in potato tuber)
(Martin and Smith, 1995). A highly branched (10%) glucose polymer called
phytoglycogen is also present in maize lacking a functional sugary] (Su) allele.
As reviewed in Hannah (1997), elucidation of the starch biosynthetic pathway,
particularly in maize, has benefited from the abundance of mutants, their easily scoreable
phenotypes, and the large size of the maize seed. Additionally, investigators have gained
information about starch biosynthesis through the discovery and subsequent study of
transposable elements, through studies brought about by the advent of gene cloning
technologies, and through projects aimed at modification of the end product. Despite a
large knowledge base, it is unclear whether all starch biosynthesis occurs via the pathway
proposed in Figure 1.
SSucrose synthase Starch synthase+
I Starch branching
UDP-Glc + Fructose enzyme
/ GUe Pase
Figure 1. Proposed Starch Biosynthetic Pathway.
V Granule bound
Adapted from Kossman and Lloyd
However, the required steps committed to starch biosynthesis are known. They
are provided by the following enzymes: adenosine diphosphate glucose
pyrophosphorylase (AGPase; EC 184.108.40.206), starch synthase (SS; EC 220.127.116.11), starch
branching enzyme (SBE; EC 18.104.22.168), and starch debranching enzyme (SDE; EC
Adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase catalyzes the synthesis of
ADP-glucose and pyrophosphate from glucose-1-phosphate and ATP. This reaction
represents the first dedicated step in starch biosynthesis and results in the activated
glucosyl donor, ADP-glucose. Pyrophosphate produced in the reaction is metabolized by
pyrophosphatases, shifting equilibrium of the AGPase reaction in the direction of ADP-
Starch synthases represent the second committed step in starch biosynthesis,
catalyzing the formation of a-1,4 linkages between the nonreducing end of a glucan
chain and the glucosyl moiety of ADP-glucose. These enzymes can be classified in at
least four groups with respect to sequence similarity. Collectively, the starch synthases
can utilize amylose or amylopectin as substrates in vitro. However the specific role of
each class in vivo is unknown.
The third dedicated reaction in starch biosynthesis is catalyzed by starch
branching enzyme. SBE creates a-1,6 linkages between a glucose residue and the
reducing end of a previously hydrolyzed a-1,4 linkage within a chain. Branching is not
random, and enzymes exhibit specificity for glucan chain lengths and for amylose or
Starch debranching enzyme plays a role in the final starch structure. By
enzymatically cleaving a-1,6 linkages, SDE likely strikes a balance between SBEs to
produce the starch granule.
Adenosine Diphosphate Glucose Pyrophosphorylase
Adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase catalyzes the reaction
resulting in the activated glucosyl donor used to extend the polysaccharide polymer.
Historically, this enzyme has received much attention because of its position as the first
committed step in starch biosynthesis and its allosteric regulation, reviewed below. Its
importance in starch biosynthesis has been confirmed by a number of mutants in the
structural genes of AGPase that greatly reduce starch content in mature seeds (reviewed
in Nelson and Pan, 1995). Its role as the rate-limiting step in starch biosynthesis and the
physiological relevance of its allosteric regulation, was demonstrated most convincingly
by two experiments. Stark et al. (1992) expressed an allosterically altered AGPase from
bacteria in potato tuber and increased starch content 30%. Giroux et al. (1996) used a
Ds-induced insertion in an allosterically important region of the maize endosperm-
specific gene encoding the large subunit of AGPase to condition an 11-18% increase in
A genetic lesion later shown to affect this enzyme was first described by Mains
(1949) in maize endosperm. The mutant gene was designated shrunken-2 (sh2) because
of the collapsed endosperm resulting from the presence of the mutant allele in a
homozygous state, but distinguishing it from sh described by Hutchinson (1921). The
enzymic activity was first isolated from wheat flour by Espada (1962). Early study by
Laughnan (1953) noted an unusually sweet flavor associated with the sh2 kernels. An
11-fold increase in sucrose concentration was accompanied by a nearly 75% decrease in
starch content in sh2 kernels as compared to wild-type. Tsai and Nelson (1966) first
showed a lack of AGPase activity in sh2 mutants synthesizing only 25-30% as much
starch as wild type. Further study by Dickinson and Preiss (1969) qualitatively
confirmed the findings of Tsai and Nelson, but detected low but measurable amounts of
AGPase activity in sh2 and bt2 mutants. Adenosine diphosphate glucose
pyrophosphorylase from sh2 and bt2 mutants differed from wild type and from each other
with respect to extent of urea denaturation, Km for Glc-1-P, and types of Glc-1-P
saturation curves. This fact led to the hypothesis that sh2 and bt2 were structural genes
for the enzyme (Hannah and Nelson, 1976). The fact that E. coli AGPase was known to
be a homotetramer (reviewed in Preiss and Levi, 1980) provided cause for debate on the
existence of dissimilar subunits for AGPase in plants.
Definitive evidence for the authenticity of dissimilar subunits in plants was
provided by the cloning of Sh2 and Bt2 from maize endosperm (Bhave et al., 1990; Bae
et al., 1990), and the homologs from other plants, including potato tuber (Okita et al.,
1990), rice (Anderson et al., 1991), and pea (Burgess et al., 1997) and reviewed in
Smith-White and Preiss (1992). Sh2 encodes the large (54 kDa) subunit and Bt2 encodes
the small (51 kDa) subunit of an o2P2 heterotetramer. Sequence similarity among the
large and small subunits of AGPase and between the E. coli AGPase subunit glgC
indicates a shared evolutionary origin. Duplication followed by independent mutations
within the Sh2 and Bt2 coding regions has resulted in noninterchangeable proteins that
have nonetheless retained the ability to interact. That Sh2 and Bt2 are functionally
nonduplicate genes is evidenced by complementation studies, in which either protein
cannot substitute for loss of function in the other. Despite common ancestry, the rates of
divergence among Sh2 and Bt2 homologs vary. Bt2 retains a large degree of sequence
similarity in comparison with the small subunits from other AGPases, while large
subunits of AGPases have diverged such that many probes do not cross hybridize.
The o232 heterotetrameric structure of plant AGPases is more complex than that
of the homotetrameric AGPases of prokaryotes, and the dynamics involved in subunit
assembly, interaction, and stability are largely unknown. Several studies have indicated
that both subunits must be present for maximum stability and enzymic activity (Giroux
and Hannah, 1994; Wang et al., 1997; Greene and Hannah, 1998b). Evidence gathered
using a yeast-two hybrid system to monitor subunit interactions between SH2 and BT2
suggests that individual subunits do not interact, and that polymerization involves
formation of a heterodimer intermediate (Greene and Hannah, 1998b). Furthermore,
yeast-two hybrid analysis showed that the N-terminal region of SH2 and the C-terminal
regions of both SH2 and BT2 are required for subunit interaction.
Adenosine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase is an allosteric enzyme in
virtually all organisms studied to date, although the specific effectors vary among
organisms. E. coli AGPase is activated by fructose-1,6-bisphosphate and inhibited by
cAMP, while plant AGPases are activated by 3-PGA and inhibited by phosphate. The
extent of regulation differs greatly among plant species, and has defined a clear
dichotomy. Leaf and tuber AGPases are quite sensitive to 3-PGA activation, while those
of seed origin show variable response to the effectors. Endosperm AGPases from maize
(Dickinson and Preiss, 1969; Hannah and Nelson, 1975; Hannah and Nelson, 1976),
wheat (Olive et al., 1989), and barley (Kleczkowski et al., 1993; Doan et al., 1999), and
developing seeds from pea (Hylton and Smith, 1992) and bean (Weber et al., 1995) show
little to no 3-PGA activation. However, AGPase activity from developing rice seeds is
dependent on 3-PGA for activity (Sikka et al., 2001). The difference between leaf and
endosperm AGPases can be neatly explained by photosynthetic capabilities of the organs.
Unlike the situation in leaves, the major carbon assimilatory pathway in developing seeds
is likely glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway, thus excluding 3-PGA as a
metabolite in the cellular environment. The dependence of potato tuber and maize
embryo AGPases on 3-PGA for activity are interesting exceptions. As discussed below,
emerging data implicate a relationship between cellular location of AGPase and
sensitivity to the allosteric effectors.
With an established plastidal localization of AGPase for spinach leaf (Okita et al.,
1979) and potato tuber (Kim et al., 1989), it was assumed that endosperm AGPases were
localized to the amyloplast. Mounting evidence over the years, however, has pointed to a
cytosolic location for endosperm AGPases. Giroux and Hannah (1994) reported that SH2
and BT2 synthesized in a rabbit reticulocyte system and that synthesized in the maize
endosperm were indistinguishable in size. Further studies of AGPase processing (Villand
et al., 1992; Villand and Kleczowski, 1994), and the studies of transporter mutants (Cao
et al., 1995; Shannon et al., 1996), cell fractionation (Thorbjornsen et al., 1996; Denyer et
al., 1996), immunocytological localization (Brangeon et al., 1997), and metabolic
profiling (Beckles et al., 2001) all argue for cytosolic localization of endosperm
AGPases. Most recently, targeting of a GFP protein containing the N-terminus of Bt2
also showed cytosolic localization (Choi et al., 2001).
Cytoplasmic AGPase localization would facilitate starch synthesis while
conserving energy and carbon. Imported sucrose would be metabolized by sucrose
synthase in the presence of UDP to form UDP-Glc and Fruc. UDP-Glc, in the presence
of PPi, would form UTP and Glc-1-P, the latter being a substrate (+ ATP) to form ADP-
Glc. In this scenario, the number of high-energy phosphate bonds is conserved.
Therefore, it is possible that differences in sensitivity to allosteric effectors are the result
of evolution in the presence of different environments of the plastid and cytoplasm.
Limited by high summer temperatures to the south and shorter growing seasons to
the north, most of the world's grain is produced in the middle latitudes where average
summer temperatures range from 21C to 240C (Thompson, 1975). In a study of corn
yield for the years 1975 to 1977, Chang (1981) found the highest yields (kg ha 1) to be at
latitudes between 45 and 55. However, variable weather patterns can have a drastic
effect on yield. In particular, reduced grain yields due to elevated temperatures have
been well documented in a number of historical and climatological studies (Thompson,
1975; Chang, 1981; Thompson, 1986; and Conroy et al., 1994).
Studies using growth chamber conditions (Hunter et al., 1977) showed the effect
of elevated temperatures on maize grain yield. Despite a higher rate of dry matter
accumulation, grain yield was reduced for plants grown at 300C, compared to those
grown at 200C, because of a shorter grain-filling period. The work of Tollenaar and
Bruulsema (1988) also showed a decrease in kernel weight due to a shortened grain-
filling period in plants grown at a day/night temperature regime of 28/18 vs. 21/150C.
In vitro studies have corroborated the in plant effects of elevated temperatures
on grain yield. Jones et al. (1981), using an in vitro kernel culture system, showed that
the increased dry matter accumulation at elevated temperatures is insufficient to
compensate for the shortened grain-filling period. Further, the study indicated that
adequate sucrose was taken up from the media by the developing kernels at elevated
temperatures, thus implicating starch synthesis or sucrose unloading from the pedicel into
the basal endosperm transfer cells as the likely cause of decreased yield. Using an in
vitro kernel culture system and [14C]sucrose, Cheikh and Jones (1995) showed that
incubation at elevated temperatures resulted in kernels with higher levels of radiolabeled
sucroses and hexoses. The results point to carbon utilization, rather than carbon uptake,
as the perturbation in kernel growth.
In an effort to characterize the effect of increased temperature on starch
biosynthetic enzymes, Ou-Lee and Setter (1985) found less AGPase activity in the apical
kernels than in the basal kernels of tip-heated ears during the time when most of starch
synthesis occurred. Subsequent work on reduced grain yields due to elevated
temperatures focused on soluble starch (SSS) synthase in wheat. Rivjen (1986) found
that heat treatment reduced the conversion of sucrose to starch in wheat endosperm in
vitro, with SSS activity declining rapidly at temperatures above 300C. In contrast,
activity of SSS from rice was thermotolerant at 300C, perhaps reflecting a mechanism for
the higher temperature optimum for grain development in this cereal. In a broader study
of the effect of elevated temperature on starch deposition in wheat endosperm, Keeling et
al. (1993) reported the activity of SSS to be the only enzymatic activity affected by
temperatures above 200C. Activities of AGPase, UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase,
sucrose synthase, phosphoglucomutase, phosphoglucose isomerase, bound starch
synthase, and hexokinase remained constant despite elevated temperature. Further
studies in wheat (Jenner, 1994; Keeling et al., 1994; Jenner et al., 1995) corroborated the
heat liability of SSS, but also recognized the heat liability of AGPase. Further, AGPase
activity was partially recoverable after heat treatment by transfer to unheated conditions,
indicating the direct effect of temperature on the enzyme rather than that of advancing
development. The work of Duke and Doehlert (1996) focused not only on the effect of
heat stress on enzyme activities in maize kernels in vitro, but on transcript levels of these
enzymes as well. Decline in AGPase activity was most apparent and corresponded with
the decline in the mRNA levels for its respective subunits.
Heat-Stable Mutant ./h/h,33
A bacterial expression system developed by Iglesias et al. (1993) allows subunits
for AGPase to be expressed on compatible vectors in an AGPase deficient E. coli strain
to produce a functional enzyme able to complement the mutant phenotype. This bacterial
expression system has been used in a number of studies aimed at elucidation of the
structure-function relationship of AGPase. Using this system, Ballicora et al. (1995)
determined that a 10 amino acid region of the N-terminus of the potato tuber small
subunit is important for heat stability. The role in heat stability of the Cys residue at
position 12 in the small subunit of potato tuber was also determined through the bacterial
expression system (Ballicora et al., 1999). This residue is the location of a disulfide
bridge implicated in enzyme stability.
However, one mutant in particular has shed insight into the mechanisms involved
in heat liability in maize endosperm AGPase. Using this system in conjunction with
chemical mutagenesis, Greene and Hannah (1998a) were able to isolate mutations in the
large subunit of maize endosperm AGPase that conferred heat stability to the enzyme in
vitro. A single base pair mutation, arising repeatedly in the study and conferring the
highest degree of heat stability, resulted in an amino acid change from His to Tyr at
position 333 in the large subunit of maize endosperm AGPase. This mutant was
designated .\,h2hs33. Interestingly, the large subunit of heat-stable potato tuber AGPase
contains a Tyr residue at the corresponding location. .\h/2/,33 retained 76% activity after
heat treatment at 600C for 5 min, compared to 25% for wild-type and 90% for heat-stable
potato tuber AGPase. Further, specific activity of AGPase in crude extracts of .\/,/h,33
was 2-fold higher than wild-type before heat treatment. Glycerol density gradient
analysis of heated and nonheated .\/h2h,/33 and wild-type crude samples showed that the
mutation in .\,//7\33 stabilizes heterotetrameric AGPase formation. Results of this study
suggest a single amino acid change is sufficient to condition heat stability in the maize
endosperm, and increased stability may be modulated through enhanced subunit
The objective of this project is to identify additional mutations in the large subunit
of maize endosperm AGP that alter enzyme stability. Mutants isolated in a previous
study in this lab (Greene and Hannah, 1998a) repeatedly contained the His-to-Tyr
mutation of.\/h/h,33. The protocol employed in this study varies from the one used
previously, and should yield different mutants. In brief, the methodology consists of
using chemical mutagenesis in conjunction with a bacterial expression system to first
identify temperature sensitive mutants. Specifically, these mutants have lost the ability to
produce glycogen at 300C, but retain AGPase activity at 37C. These mutants were then
used to screen for second-site revertants following subsequent rounds of chemical
mutagenesis. Isolation of second-site reversion mutations, in the absence of the negative
parental mutations, confers varying degrees of heat stability to the enzyme and increase
activity of the enzyme in the absence of heat. However, the second-site reversion
mutations are inferior to the mutation identified in .\'2/h,33. By combining the mutations
discovered in this study with the mutation arising in .\/,2/,/33, heat stability and pre-heat
treatment activity are increased more than .\,h2/h,33 alone.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Mutagenesis and Mutant Selection
Mutagenesis of plasmid DNA containing the coding region of wild-type Sh2
cDNA was performed for 48 hours as described by Greene et al. (1996). Treated Sh2
plasmid DNA was then electroporated into Escherichia coli strain AC70R1-504
containing the wild-type Bt2 coding region on a compatible vector. Antibiotic resistance
conditioned by plasmid DNA containing Sh2 and Bt2 cDNA allowed for selection of
putative transformants on agar plates containing 75 mg mL-1 spectinomycin and 50 mg
Colonies were incubated at 300C on enriched medium plates (0.85% [w/v]
KH2PO4, 1.1% [w/v] K2HPO4, 0.6% [w/v] yeast extract, 1% [w/v] glucose, and 1.5%
[w/v] agar) containing 75 mg mL-1 spectinomycin and 50 mg mL-1 kanamycin and
stained with iodine. Approximately 6,000 colonies were screened. The original screen to
isolate colonies with activity as evidenced by iodine staining at 300C but not at 370C
proved unsuccessful. Instead 66 colonies with varying degrees of abnormal activity at
300C were isolated. These colonies were streaked in duplicate at 300C and 370C on
enriched medium plates. Of these, twenty colonies were identified with activity at 370C
but not at 300C. Based on reproducibility and intensity of staining patterns six
mutants were selected by their inability to complement the glgC- mutation at 300C.
Wild-type is fully able to complement at both temperatures. That the six mutants
exhibited positive iodine staining at 370C indicates that we have isolated temperature
sensitive mutants of maize endosperm AGPase. Two of the temperature sensitive
mutants, Sh2ts60 and Sh2ts48, were randomly selected for further analysis.
Coding regions of Sh2ts60 and Sh2ts48 were subcloned into unmutated vectors as
1553 bp Nco ISst I fragments. The use of Nco I and Sst I allows isolation of the coding
region in its entirety, without vector (Figure 2).
Sh2 coding region, 1548 bp
4 ........ ................ -- i
Figure 2. Restriction map of Sh2 coding region. Restriction enzymes shown are those
used in isolation of entire coding region and in creation of double and triple
mutants. Mutations are indicated with asterisks (*).
At this point, plasmids were single-pass sequenced at the University of Florida
DNA Sequencing Core Facility, with the following primers:
Sequence alignments with wild-type were performed using MultAlin (Corpet, 1988).
To isolate second-site revertants of Sh2ts60 and Sh2ts48, the plasmids were
treated with hydroxylamine, transformed into E. coli AC70R1-504 cells containing wild-
type Bt2, and selected for antibiotic resistance on LB plates as described above. Colonies
were streaked in duplicate on enriched medium plates containing 75 mg mL-1
spectinomycin and 50 mg mL-1 kanamycin, and incubated at 300C and 370C. Mutants
were selected by their restored ability to complement the glgC- mutation at 300C. Five
second-site revertants of Sh2ts60 and three second-site revertants of Sh2ts48 were
isolated. Focus was restricted to only one randomly selected revertant each for Sh2ts60
and Sh2ts48: Sh2rts60-1 and Sh2rts48-2. Coding regions from Sh2rts60-1 and
Sh2rts48-2 were subcloned into unmutated vectors as Nco I/Sst I fragments, sequenced,
and aligned as described above.
Sequence analysis of Sh2ts60 revealed two point mutations: one mutation
generated a Glu to Lys change at amino acid 324, while an additional mutation resulted in
an Ala to Val substitution at amino acid 359. It was desirable to separate the two
mutations of Sh2ts60 to determine the effect of the single mutations. However, the
absence of a unique cloning site between the mutations necessitated use of site-directed
mutagenesis. The Transformer Site-Directed Mutagenesis kit (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA)
and protocol were used with the following primers (5' phosphorylated):
The resulting plasmids containing the separated mutations of Sh2ts60 were designated
.\/l,2324k and .\h/,l359v.
Site-directed mutagenesis was also employed to separate the second-site reversion
mutation present in Sh2rts60-1 from the parental mutations of Sh2ts60, using the primers
3', and JSSh2mutSstI: 5'-GGGTCTGTCATATAGTGAGCACGGTACCCGGGG-3'.
The resulting plasmid containing only the reversion mutation of Sh2rts60-1 was
designated .\ht 396v.
The second-site reversion mutation of Sh2rts48-2 was subcloned from the
parental mutation of Sh2ts48 as a 584 bp Nco I/Xho I fragment into an unmutated vector
(Figure 2). The resulting plasmid containing only the reversion mutation of Sh2rts48-2
was designated .h\//2,t/77v.
A subcloning strategy was designed to study the effects of the mutations in
combination with .\/h2/h,33, and with each other. To combine the mutations of, //-/177v
and .,\lh,396v, the plasmids were digested with Eco RV and a 339 bp fragment of
,h\/,1/77v was exchanged for the corresponding fragment of ,\hI,396v (Figure 2). The
resulting plasmid was designated Sh2- 77-396. A similar strategy was used to combine
the mutation of,\/2,/177v with the mutation identified in .\lh1,\33. Plasmids were
digested with Eco RV and a 339 bp fragment of .\/2_,/77v was exchanged for the
corresponding fragment of .\lh2h,33. The resulting plasmid was designated Sh2-177-33.
To combine the mutation of .\lh,396v with the mutation identified in .\l/h2h33, the
plasmids were digested with Mun I/Kpn I and a 390 bp fragment of .l\2,396v was
exchanged for the corresponding fragment of ,hl2lh,33 (Figure 2). The resulting plasmid
was designated Sh2-396-33. In order to combine the mutations of,\lh2,396v and
,s\/h1/77v with the mutation identified in ,h/2h/,33, Sh2-396-33 and ,s\/h1/77v were
digested with Eco RV and a 339 bp fragment of ,/h,/1/77v was exchanged for the
corresponding fragment of Sh2-396-33. The resulting plasmid was designated
Final sequencing of all plasmids was performed using six primers to cover the
entire Sh2 coding region in both directions. Primers used are as follows:
LHBB1 (5'-3'): 5'-CGACTCACTATAGGGAGACC-3';
LH27 (5'-3'): 5'-CCCTATGAGTAACTG-3';
LH9 (5'3--'): 5'-TATACTCAATTACAT-3';
LHBB2 (3'-5'): 5'-GTGCCACCTGACGTCTAAG-3';
LH2135 (3'-5'): 5'-CAGAGCTGACACGTG-3';
LH32 (3'-5'): 5'-AAGCTGATCGCCACTC-3'.
To obtain quantitative data for the mutants described above, activity was
measured with the synthesis (forward) assay that measures incorporation of [14C]Glc-1-P
into the sugar nucleotide ADP-Glc. Assays were performed on crude enzyme extracts
prepared as described below.
Aliquots (10 mL) of LB containing 75 mg ml-1 of spectinomycin and 50 mg mL-1
of kanamycin were inoculated from glycerol stocks of E. coli AC70R1-504 cells
expressing mutant or wild-type AGPase, and grown overnight at 370C with shaking at
225 rpm. These cultures were used to inoculate 250 mL of LB containing 75 mg mL-1 of
spectinomycin and 50 mg mL-1 kanamycin. Cultures were grown to an OD600= 0.5-0.6 at
370C with shaking at 225 rpm, then induced with 0.2 mM isopropyl B-D-thiogalactoside
and 0.02 mg mL-1 nalidixic acid for 6.5 h at 230C with shaking at 200 rpm. Cells were
harvested by centrifugation at 3500 x g for 10 min at 40C, and stored at -800C. Cell
pellets were resuspended in ImL of extraction buffer: 10mM KPO4, pH 7.5, 50 mM
HEPES, pH 7.5, 5 mM MgCl2, 5 mM EDTA, 30% (w/v) ammonium sulfate, and 20%
(w/v) sucrose. DTT (1 mM), 50 mg mL-1 lysozyme, 1 mg mL-1 pepstatin, 1 mg mL-1
leupeptin, 1 mg mL-1 antipain, 1 mg mL-1 aprotinin, 10 mg mL-1 chymostatin, ImM
phenylmethylsulonyl fluoride, and 1 mM benzamidine were added to extraction buffer
just before use. Resuspended cells were sonicated 3 times with a Branson 450 Sonifier
(Branson Ultrasonics Corporation, Danbury, CT) for 7 seconds at 60% duty cycle and
output control level 3, with incubation on ice between sonications. Samples were
centrifuged for 1 min at 13,000 rpm at 40C, and supernatants were removed and used for
assays. Heat treatment consisted of incubation at 600C for 5 min.
The ADP-Glc synthesis reaction measures incorporation of [14C]Glc-1-P into
ADP-Glc. The reaction mixture contained 80 mM HEPES, pH 7.5m, 1 mM Glc-1-P, 4
mM MgCl2, 0.5 mg mL-' bovine serum albumin, 10 mM 3-PGA, and 15,000 cpm of
[14C]Glc-1-P. Reaction volume was 50 mL. Assays were initiated by addition of 1.5 mM
ATP. Reaction was incubated for 30 min at 370C and terminated by boiling for 2 min.
Unincorporated Glc-1-P was cleaved by addition of 0.3 U of bacterial alkaline
phosphatase (Worthington Biochemical Corporation, Lakewood, NJ) and incubation for
2.5 h at 370C. A 20 mL aliquot of the reaction mixture was spotted on DEAE paper,
washed with distilled water three times, dried, and quantified in a liquid scintillation
Gel Filtration Chromatography
In order to assess the effect of mutations on enzyme assembly and/or subunit
interactions, it was necessary to separate the enzymes by size. Crude extract, prepared as
above except that extraction buffer also contained 10 mM MgC12, 5% (v/v) glycerol, and
200 mM KC1, was loaded on a Pharmacia Superdex 200 HR 10/30 column (Amersham
Pharmacia Biotech, Piscataway, NJ) connected to an FPLC system (Amersham
Pharmacia Biotech) at 40C. The column was previously equilibrated with 2 volumes of
buffer containing 10 mM MgC12, 5 mM EDTA, 5% (w/v) sucrose, 50 mM HEPES, pH
7.5, and 200 mM KC1 and filtered through a 0.45 jtM filter (Gelman Sciences, Ann
Arbor, MI). Flow rate was 0.5 mL min-1 and loading volume was 200 mL. Fractions of
250 mL were collected. The column was calibrated with the following markers,
dissolved at 1 mg mL-1 in equilibration buffer (50 mM Tris-C1, pH 7.5, 100 mM KC1, and
5% (v/v) glycerol), and filtered at 0.45 [tM: apoferritin (443 kD), 3-amylase (200 kD),
alcohol dehydrogenase (150 kD), BSA (66 kD), and carbonic anhydrase (29 kD). Flow
rate was 0.5 mL min1 and loading volume was 200 mL. A void volume of 8 mL was
determined using blue dextran.
To verify size and quantify relative amounts of AGPase present, proteins were
separated on a Novex NuPAGE 7% Tris-Acetate polyacrylamide gel (Invitrogen,
Carlsbad, CA) using a Novex XCell II Mini-Cell electrophoresis unit (Invitrogen). SDS-
PAGE standards for SYPRO Orange Stain-Broad Range were used in conjunction with
SYPRO Orange Stain (Bio Rad, Hercules, CA). Gel was stained for 0.5 h. Protein was
visualized with UV light and an Alphalmager 2200 digital imaging system (Alpha
Innotech Corporation, San Leandro, CA).
Proteins were transferred to nitrocellulose (Micron Separations Inc.,
Westborough, MA) with a Hoefer TE 70 Series SemiPhor semi-dry transfer unit
(Amersham Pharmacia Biotech). Membrane and filter paper used in transfer were soaked
in Towbin transfer buffer: 25 mM Tris, pH 8.3, 192 mM glycine, 20% (v/v) methanol,
and 0.1% (w/v) SDS. Transfer time was one hour. Membranes were washed three times
for ten minutes each in Tris-buffered saline Tween (TTBS) solution: 100 mM Tris-C1, pH
6.8, 150 mM NaC1, and 0.1% (v/v) Tween 20. Membranes were blocked for one hour in
TTBS containing 5% (w/v) BSA. Membranes were incubated for one h with primary
antibodies (1:1000) directed against BT2 (Giroux and Hannah, 1994). Excess antibodies
were removed by washing membrane three times for ten min each in TTBS solution.
Primary antibodies were detected by incubation for one h with 1:5000 dilution of
horseradish peroxidase conjugated to donkey anti-rabbit IgG (Amersham Pharmacia
Biotech) in TTBS solution containing 5% (w/v) BSA. Excess antibodies were removed
by washing three times for ten min each in TTBS solution. Blots were visualized by ECL
chemiluminescent detection (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).
To quantify relative amounts of AGPase present, films were scanned using a
Hewlett Packard (Palo Alto, CA) scanner in conjunction with Alpha Ease software
(Alpha Innotech Corporation). Densitometry was determined using auto background
The mutagenesis and mutant selection strategy made use of hydroxylamine and a
bacterial expression system. Hydroxylamine preferentially hydroxylates the amino
nitrogen at the C-4 position of cytosine, resulting in a GC to AT transition (Suzuki et al.,
1989). While hydroxylamine can induce only two of the possible twelve base pair
substitutions, the nature of the mutagen ensures no direct base pair reversions, an
advantage utilized in searches for second site suppressors. The bacterial expression
system uses E. coli strain AC70R1-504, a strain lacking endogenous bacterial AGPase
activity (glg C-). Using cDNA clones of the large and small subunits of potato tuber
AGPase, Iglesias et al. (1993) showed that expression of both subunits complements the
mutation, while either subunit alone is unable to do so. Complementation is easily
visualized by staining colonies with iodine. Colonies with restored glycogen production
stain brown, as iodine chelates with glycogen, to produce an easily detectable indication
of complementation. Complementation of the E. coli AC70R1-504 mutation with cDNA
clones of the large and small subunits of maize endosperm AGPase has also been
demonstrated (Giroux et al., 1996).
Sequencing of Sh2ts48 identified a single mutation at amino acid 426, a Leu to
Phe substitution. The Leu residue is conserved among the large subunits of rice
endosperm, developing wheat grain, barley endosperm, sorghum, and potato tuber
AGPases (Figure 3).
[Zea] S V I GV C S RV S S G C E L KD S V M M G A D I
[Sorghum] S V I G V C S R V S Y G C E L K D C V M M G A D I
[Rice] S V I G I S S R V S I G C E L K D T M M M G A D Q
[Barley] S I I GVR S R L N S G S E L KNAMMM GADS
[Wheat] S I I G VR S R L N S G S E L K N A M M M G A D S
[Potato] S I V G E R S R L D C G V E L K D T F M M G A D Y
consensus S i G v r S R s s G c E L K d m M M G A D
Figure 3. Mutation identified in Sh2ts48. Mutation is a Leu to Phe substitution at amino
Two point mutations were identified in Sh2ts60 (Figure 4). One mutation
generated a Glu to Lys change at amino acid 324. This Glu is conserved in the large
subunits of rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, and potato AGPases. An additional mutation in
Sh2ts60 resulted in an Ala to Val substitution at amino acid 359. This Ala is conserved in
the large subunits of rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, and potato AGPases. Of significance,
the mutations of Sh2ts60 flank the mutation (His to Tyr at amino acid 333) arising in
./hh/,/\33, a heat-stable variant of maize endosperm AGPase (Greene and Hannah, 1998a).
Sequencing of the Sh2ts48 second-site revertant, Sh2rts48-2, identified an Ala to
Val substitution at amino acid 177 (Figure 5). The Ala is conserved in the large subunits
of rice, wheat, and barley AGPases. The mutation is 249 amino acids in the N-terminal
direction from the parental mutation, and maps to the same site as the mutation in
.sh/2/v713 (Greene and Hannah, 1998a). The mutation in .\/lhv13 is an Ala to Pro
substitution, and confers some degree of heat stability, indicating this region is important
in AGPase heat stability.
. h D
HD H NV
HD H NV
DD Y NV
1 d h nV
Figure 4. Mutations identified in Sh2ts60. A. One mutation is a Glu to Lys substitution
at amino acid 324. B. The second mutation is an Ala to Val substitution at
amino acid 359.
. W F
TADA I R
Figure 5. Mutation identified in Sh2rts48-2. Mutation is an Ala to Val substitution at
amino acid 177.
Sequencing of the Sh2ts60 second-site revertant, Sh2rts60-1, identified an Ala to
Val mutation at amino acid 396 (Figure 6). This Ala is conserved in the large subunits of
rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, and potato AGPases. This mutation is 37 and 42 amino
acids in the C-terminal direction from the parental Sh2ts60 mutations. In addition, the
mutation is four amino acids away from one of two mutations found in .,s//-/v14 (Greene
and Hannah, 1998a). All mutations identified in this study, and the mutation in ./1/-'33,
are shown in Figure 7.
L P P TQ LD KC KM KYAF I S D G C L L R E C
L P P TQ LD KC K I KDAS I S D G C L L R E C
LPPAR LE KC K I KDA I I S D G C S F S E C
L P P T KSD KC R I KEA I I S HG C F L R E C
L P P T KSD KC R I KEA I I S HG C F L R E C
L P P T K IDNC K I KDAI I SHG C F L RDC
L P P t k d k C k i KdAi S G Cf re C
Figure 6. Mutation identified in Sh2rts60-1. Mutation is an Ala to Val substitution at
amino acid 396.
Sh2 TYLEGGINFA DGSVQVLAAT QMPEEPAGWF QGTADSIRKF
IWVLEDYYSH KSIDNIVILS GDQLYRMNYM ELVQKHVEDD
ADITISCAPV DESRASKNGL VKIDHTGRVL QFFEKPKGAD
LNSMRVETNF LSYAIDDAQK YPYLASMGIY VFKKDALLDL
LKSKYTQLHD FGSEILPRAV LDHSVQACIF TGYWEDVGTI
Sh2 KSFFDANLAL TEQPSKFDFY DPKTPFFTAP
Sh2 CKMKYAFISD GCLLRECNIE HSVIGVCSRV
Figure 7. Mutations identified from sequence analysis in temperature sensitive mutants,
revertants, and .,'//-3\3.
In vitro Enzyme Assays
The ADP-Glc synthesis (forward) reaction provided quantitative data on the
activity of Sh2ts48, Sh2rts48-2, and ,\/_'/177v as compared to wild-type (Table 1). The
assay was performed with undiluted, 1:2 diluted, and 1:4 diluted samples. All dilutions
were assayed in duplicate. Controls (minus ATP) were subtracted before multiplication
by dilution factors and averaging.
Table 1. Activity (AGPase) in Sh2 wild-type, Sh2ts48, Sh2rts48-2, and Sh2al 77v.
Sh2ts48 is the original temperature sensitive mutant. Sh2rts48-2 is a revertant of Sh2ts48
and contains a second-site suppressor mutation, in addition to the mutation found in Sh2ts48.
Sh2al 77v contains only the second-site suppressor mutation from Sh2rts48-2.
Activity is assayed at 37C.
Enzyme Activity SEMa Nb
Sh2 wt 2088 377 6
Sh2ts48 1128 270 6
Sh2rts48-2 1246 455 6
Sh2al77v 2103 393 6
standard error of the mean
" number of experimental replicates
This data set clearly illustrates the effectiveness of the screening procedure used
to identify mutants. A single mutation (Sh2ts48) causes a loss of activity when compared
to wild-type. It is interesting to note that while activity of the enzyme containing a
second-site reversion mutation (Sh2rts48-2) does not return to wild-type levels with
regards to the in vitro enzyme assay, iodine staining in Sh2rts48-2 is restored to wild-type
or near wild-type levels. Isolation of the second-site reversion mutation in the absence of
the parental mutation (.\s,_'1/77v) does not significantly increase activity of the enzyme
compared to wild-type. The data not only provide quantitative data supporting earlier
qualitative data, but also show the ability of the screening procedure to effectively
identify mutations altering enzyme activity.
The ADP-Glc synthesis (forward) reaction also provided quantitative data on the
activity of Sh2ts60, Sh2rts60-], ,\/l2e324k, .\/ii359v, and .,/hl2396v as compared to
wild-type (Table 2). The assay was performed with undiluted, 1:3 diluted, and 1:6
diluted samples. All dilutions were assayed in duplicate. Controls (minus ATP) were
subtracted before multiplication by dilution factors and averaging. The data presented
also illustrate the effectiveness of the protocol in identifying mutants affecting enzyme
activity. Here, the mutations in Sh2ts60 clearly affect the activity of AGPase. Upon
separation of the two mutations present in Sh2ts60, the mutation present in .\lh1324k
appears to be responsible for the phenotype of Sh2ts60.
Table 2. Activity (AGPase) in Sh2 wild-type, Sh2ts60, Sh2e324k, Sh2a359v, Sh2rts60-1,
and.\li',1396v. Sh2ts60 is the original temperature sensitive mutant. Sh2e324k contains only
one of two mutations found in Sh2ts60. Sh2a359v contains the second of two mutations
found in Sh2ts60. Sh2rts60-1 is a revertant of Sh2ts60 and contains a second-site
suppressor mutation, in addition to the mutations found in Sh2ts60. Sh2al 77v contains only
the second-site suppressor mutation found in Sh2rts60-1. Activity is assayed at 37C.
Enzyme Activity SEMa Nb
Sh2 wt 1398 520 6
Sh2ts60 84 49 6
Sh2rts60-1 109 43 6
Sh2e324k 67 42 6
Sh2a359v 996 241 6
.\1i',396v 2410 421 6
Standard error of the mean
" number of experimental replicates
The percentage of activity remaining after heat treatment at 600C for 5 min is
presented in Table 3. Genotypes in the data set are Sh2 wild-type, .\/i2/i-33, .\/i2396v,
.\/,l/2 77v, Sh2-396-177, Sh2-396-33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh2-396-177-33. Activity of Sh2
wild-type and .\/,/h,33 are in agreement with earlier reports (Greene and Hannah, 1998a).
.\h',1 396v, .\',1h t77v, Sh2-396-177, Sh2-396-33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh2-396-177-33 are
not significantly different in terms of heat stability.
Table 3. Percent Activity Remaining After Heat Treatment.
Heat treatment consists of incubation at 600C for 5 min. Sh2hs33 is a heat stable mutant
(Greene and Hannah, 1998). Sh2a396v is the second-site reversion mutation found in
Sh2rts60-1. Sh2al 77v is the second-site reversion mutation found in Sh2rts48-2.
Sh2-396-177 is a double mutant of .\/i',396v and Sh2al 77v. Sh2-396-33 is a double
mutant of .\'/iL396v and Sh2hs33. Sh2-177-33 is a double mutant of Sh2al 77v and
Sh2hs33. Sh2-396-177-33 is a triple mutant of Sh2a396v, Sh2al 77v, and Sh2hs33.
Enzyme % Activity SEMa Nb
Sh2 wt 32 11 3
Sh2hs33 69 7 7
.\1i,1396v 61 13* 2
Sh2a177v 64 6 3
Sh2-396-177 77 21* 2
Sh2-396-33 69 9 3
Sh2-177-33 83 8 3
Sh2-396-177-33 72 11 3
Standard error of the mean
number of experimental replicates
* represents range, rather than S.E.M.
Activity before heat treatment for Sh2 wild-type, .\,'/-,\33, .,\/i2396v, .\/,h,/177v,
Sh2-396-177, Sh2-396-33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh2-396-177-33 is shown in Table 4.
.\,h/h\,33 has 2.1 fold more activity than does Sh2 wild-type. This is in agreement with
previous data (Greene and Hannah, 1998a). Both .,\l/,177v and .,\lh,396v show a 1.4
fold increase in activity. Their double mutant contains a 1.9 fold increase in activity.
While the combination of the two mutants increases activity, the double mutant does not
experience synergistic effects. The mutation of .,\l2,396v when combined with that of
.\,/2/,\33 experiences an additive effect, raising activity 3.4 fold compared to Sh2 wild-
type. The mutation of ,\l/h2177v in combination with that of.\,h2h,33 exhibits a slightly
smaller increase to 2.9 fold. Interestingly, the triple mutant shows a slightly greater
increase than either second-site reversion mutation alone, but less than the double mutant
between second-site revertants.
Table 4. Fold Increase in Activity.
Sh2hs33 is a heat stable mutant (Greene and Hannah, 1998). .\/i2l396v is the second-site
reversion mutation found in Sh2rts60-1. Sh2al 77v is the second-site reversion mutation found
in Sh2rts48-2. Sh2-396-177 is a double mutant of .\/i h396v and Sh2al77v. Sh2-396-33
is a double mutant of .\'/ir396v and Sh2hs33. Sh2-177-33 is a double mutant of Sh2al 77v
and Sh2hs33. Sh2-396-1 77-33 is a triple mutant of .\h/i2396v, Sh2al 77v, and Sh2hs33.
Enzyme Fold increase Range Nb
Sh2 wt n/a n/a n/a
Sh2hs33 2.1 0.2a 3
.\/ h ,396v 1.4 0 1
Sh2al77v 1.4 0 1
Sh2-396-177 1.9 0.2 2
Sh2-396-33 3.4 0 1
Sh2-177-33 2.9 0.1 2
Sh2-396-177-33 1.8 0.1 2
Standard error of the mean
" number of experimental replicates
n.a. not applicable
Relative Specific Activities of Heat-Sensitive and Heat-Stable Mutants
Gel filtration chromatography was used to isolate heterotetrameric AGPase from
other size fractions of its subunits. To test the effectiveness of the column for separation,
individually collected fractions were subjected to SDS-PAGE and western blotting. A
western blot of Fractions 1-14 is shown in Figure 8. Low levels of BT2 protein are
detected in Fractions 1 -8. Beginning with Fraction 9 there is a steady increase in the
amount of BT2 present. Higher molecular weight proteins present in Lanes 1-6 are
possibly due to transcriptional run-on and have been observed previously (Hannah,
personal communication). Fraction 11 is considered to be the heterotetrameric fraction as
predicted by molecular mass markers. The presence of BT2 protein in Fractions 10 and
12-14 suggest that the heterotetrameric peak is split among fractions. However, by using
Fraction 11 as the heterotetrameric fraction, contamination by AGPase dimers is unlikely
as higher numbered fractions contain lower molecular weight molecules.
Gel filtration fractions
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
62 kD 1 *----
Figure 8. Western blot of .lh2lh,33 gel filtration fractions. Fractions 1-14 of Sh2hs33
were subjected to SDS-PAGE, transferred to nitrocellulose, and hybridized
with antibody to BT2. Fraction 11 is the heterotetrameric fraction as
determined by molecular mass markers.
Isolation of the heterotetrameric fraction, followed by relative quantitation of
active enzyme through SDS-PAGE and western blotting, allowed an estimate of specific
activities. The first of two western blots used to estimate specific activities is shown in
Figure 9. The specific activities calculated using in vitro enzyme assays and relative
amounts of AGPase present in Figure 9 are shown in Table 5. The second of two western
blots used to estimate specific activities is shown in Figure 10. Specific activities
calculated using the forward assay from gel filtration purification fractions and relative
amounts of AGPase protein present in Figure 10 are shown in Table 6.
Following gel filtration chromatography of heated and nonheated samples of Sh2
wild-type, .\/hhs33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh-2177-396-33 aliquots of the heterotetrameric
fraction were subjected to SDS-PAGE. SDS gels were transferred to nitrocellulose and
probed with antibody to BT2. Films were digitally scanned and relative amounts of
protein determined using densitometry software. We loaded 12 and 6 jtL to monitor
linearity of AGPase signal. Lack of detectable protein for both heated and nonheated
samples of Sh2 wild-type made determination of relative protein amounts, and
subsequent specific activity calculations, impossible. Specific activities decrease as
stability increases (Table 5), and although no specific activity for Sh2 wild-type is given,
enzyme assays of Sh2 wild-type suggest the highest specific activity in the group.
To verify results shown in Figure 9 and Table 5, a slightly modified version of the
experiment was performed. Enzymes used were Sh2 wild-type, .\/,h2,33, and Sh2-177-
33. Heat-treatment was excluded from the experiment. The heterotetrameric gel
filtration fractions and the succeeding fraction were used. Two fractions were subjected
to SDS-PAGE in Figure 10 to evaluate contamination by dimers. That specific activities
of both fractions from each enzyme are similar suggests no contamination by dimeric
AGPase subunits. In contrast to the previous experiment, specific activities increase with
increasing stability, with Sh2 wild-type exhibiting the lowest specific activity and
Sh2-177-33 exhibiting the greatest specific activity. The discrepancy between
experiments is discussed below.
^-. ; *
3,N J ^ **
,-,h v v
VJ q L
52 keD Mr.WW k6 &P* BED 0* am
Figure 9. Western blot of gel filtration fractions to calculate specific activities. Samples
of heterotetrameric fraction, separated by SDS-PAGE, transferred to
nitrocellulose, and hybridized with antibody to BT2 protein. Lanes 1 and 2:
Sh2 wild-type, 12 jEL and 6 jEL, respectively. Lanes 3 and 4: heat-treated Sh2
wild-type, 12 jEL and 6 jaL, respectively. Lanes 5 and 6: .\/h2,/33, 12 jaL and 6
IEL, respectively. Lanes 7 and 8: heat-treated .\h2/,/33, 12 jaL and 6 EL,
respectively. Lanes 9 and 10: Sh2-177-33, 12 jaL and 6 jaL, respectively.
Lanes 11 and 12: heat-treated Sh2-177-33, 12 jaL and 6 jaL, respectively.
Lanes 13 and 14: Sh2-177-396-33, 12 jaL and 6 jaL, respectively. Lanes 15 and
16: heat-treated Sh2-177-396-33, 12 jaL and 6 jaL, respectively.
Table 5. Specific Activities of Sh2 wild-type, Sh2hs33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh2-177-396-33
Sh2hs33 is a heat stable mutant (Greene and Hannah, 1998). Sh2-177-33 is a double
mutant of Sh2al77v (second-site reversion mutation) and Sh2hs33. Sh2-396-177-33 is
a triple mutant of Sh2a396v (second-site reversion mutation), Sh2al77v, and Sh2hs33.
Enzyme Heat treat Activity Protein amt. Sp. activity
Sh2 wt no 2291 n.d. n.d.
Sh2hs33 no 8455 22 384
Sh2-177-33 no 7071 38.5 184
Sh2-177-396-33 no 7131 49.5 144
Sh2 wt yes 7709 n.d. n.d.
Sh2hs33 yes 7888 6.8 1160
Sh2-177-33 yes 8927 20.5 435
Sh2-177-396-33 yes 7878 47 168
n.d. not determined
Heleaiowtrrmsre gal Hate~tramMs rlm c ge
filtration frctkon filtration fraction +1
Figure 10. Western blot of Sh2 wild-type, ./h2h,33 and Sh2-177-33 gel filtration
fractions. Lanesl-6: gel filtration fractions corresponding to the
heterotetrameric fraction. Lanes 7-12: gel filtration fractions corresponding
to the succeeding heterotetrameric fraction. Fractions separated by SDS-
PAGE, transferred to nitrocellulose, and hybridized with antibody to BT2
protein. Lanes 1, 2, 7, and 8: Sh2 wild-type, 12 tL and 6 jtL, respectively.
Lanes 3, 4, 9, and 10: .Nh2h,33, 12 jtL and 6 ItL, respectively. Lanes 5, 6, 11,
and 12: Sh2-177-33, 12 tL and 6 tL, respectively.
and 12: Sh2-1 77-33, 12 |L and 6 |L, respectively.
Table 6. Specific Activities for Sh2 wild-type, Sh2hs33, and Sh2-177-33
Sh2hs33 is a heat stable mutant (Greene and Hannah, 1998). Sh2-177-33 is a double
mutant of Sh2al77v (second-site reversion mutation) and Sh2hs33.
Enzyme Fraction Activity Protein amt. Sp. activity
Sh2 wt 12 586 13 45
Sh2hs33 12 1843 26 71
Sh2-177-33 12 2188 23 95
Sh2 wt 13 750 16 47
Sh2hs33 13 1870 22.5 83
Sh2-177-33 13 2190 21.5 102
It is well known that single amino acid polymorphisms in the coding region of
enzymes can alter properties. The work of Greene and Hannah (1998a) showed that a
single amino acid change in the large subunit of maize endosperm AGPase can affect
subunit interactions and heat stability. The aim of this project was to identify other
mutations affecting enzyme stability. Through sequence comparison of mutants from this
study and mutants identified by Greene and Hannah (1998a), regions important in
enzyme stability both in the presence and absence of increased heat are becoming
apparent. Because the coding region of Sh2 is by no means mutation saturated, at this
point only two regions of importance can be tentatively identified. The first region spans
113 amino acids, from residue 104 to residue 217. Amino acid 217 was first identified by
Greene and Hannah (1998a) as one (Arg to Pro) of two mutations in ,\/l2/v47, a heat-
stable mutant retaining approximately 60% activity after incubation at 600C for 5 min.
However, because the two mutations in ,\s/l2v47 were not separated to determine their
individual effect on stability, no definitive conclusions about this amino acid can be
drawn. Also identified by Greene and Hannah (1998a) was residue 114 in ,\s//-/v6. An
Arg to Thr substitution at this position conditions retention of approximately 40% activity
after heat treatment. Amino acid 177 is the site of the mutation (Ala to Pro) identified in
\,s/h/v713 (Greene and Hannah, 1998a). This mutant was isolated in the screening
procedure and presumably confers some degree of heat stability, although no quantitative
data were given. Amino acid 177 is also the location of the second-site reversion
mutation present in Sh2rts48-2. An Ala to Val substitution at this residue confers
retention of approximately 64% activity after heat treatment. That residue 177 has been
identified in two studies, lends credence to the importance of this residue in stability of
maize endosperm AGPase.
The second region of importance in terms of AGPase stability is a 136 amino acid
stretch between residues 324 and 460. Mutations in this study include those identified in
Sh2ts48 and Sh2ts60 at residues 324, 359, and 426. Data presented illustrate the
importance of these residues, particularly 324 and 426, in enzyme stability as evidenced
by the concomitant conditional phenotype upon mutation of these residues. Also
identified in this study is residue 396, the location of the second-site reversion mutation
of Sh2ts60. An Ala to Val substitution at this residue confers approximately 61%
retention of activity following heat treatment. The remaining residues that define this
region were identified in Greene and Hannah (1998a) and include residues 333 (His to
Tyr), 400 (Asp to His), 454 (Val to Ie), and 460 (Thr to Ie). The His to Tyr mutation at
residue 333 was repeatedly encountered in the study, and its importance in stability has
been shown in both the original and the present study.
Comparison of the mutations identified here show an interesting pattern. Of the
five mutations, three are Ala to Val substitutions. Further, both second-site reversion
mutations are Ala to Val substitutions. Whether the over-representation of Ala to Val
substitutions is because of the relatedness of the codons for these amino acids, the limited
range of substitutions possible through hydroxylamine mutagenesis, or reflects the
accessibility of these particular Ala codons to the mutagen is unclear.
As stated above, with the limited number of mutations in the coding region of Sh2
it is difficult to identify regions of importance with any certainty. In fact, there is no
compelling reason to include residue 217 with residues 177 and 104 rather than with the
remaining mutations other than distance between the next closest mutations is smaller. It
remains to be seen whether the residues identified can in fact be divided into two regions
or whether the mutations are isolated. The two tentatively identified regions may be
divided further, their domains expanded or contracted, and their relative importance
verified as more mutants become available. However, the mutations have given us a
starting point to further study the interactions of the subunits and their role in the stability
of this important enzyme.
The mechanism by which the mutation of.\h1/,2/33 enhances heat stability is not
definitively known. Glycerol density gradient centrifugation and SDS-PAGE/western
blotting provided evidence that .\,//7\33 increases heat stability through stabilizing
heterotetrameric AGPase formation (Greene and Hannah, 1998a). Certainly this result is
in agreement with earlier reports (Giroux and Hannah, 1994; Wang et al., 1997) in which
both subunits must be present for maximum stability. Perhaps .\/2h,/33 stabilizes
heterotetrameric AGPase formation, thus forming an enzyme more resistant to stress and
with more activity in the absence of stress, because of an increased affinity for
heterotetrameric formation. This scenario presents a testable hypothesis. If Sh2hs33 and
heat-stable variants identified in this study enhance stability by shifting equilibrium of
subunit interaction in the direction of heterotetrameric formation, activity per
heterotetramer should be equal to wild-type and to each other. Using techniques
developed previously in this lab the question has been addressed.
Using heated and nonheated samples of Sh2, .\h2lh,33, Sh2-177-33, and Sh2-177-
396-33 (Figure 9), specific activities were calculated (Table 5). Specific activities
decrease as stability increases. Although no numerical values were given for Sh2 wild-
type because of undetectable amounts of protein, enzyme assays suggest a higher specific
activity than the other enzymes. Heat treatment increases specific activities but does not
change the underlying observation. In a slightly modified experiment to confirm earlier
results, differing results were obtained. Using Sh2, .\lh2h,33, and Sh2-177-33 (Figure 10)
specific activities were calculated (Table 6). In contrast to the previous experiment,
specific activities increase with increasing stability. Without further experimentation, no
definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Activity levels in the first experiment were higher than the second experiment
(Table 5 vs. Table 6). Whether this reflects differences in enzyme preparations, enzyme
integrity during gel filtration chromatography, assay conditions, or other phenomena is
unknown. The differing data do provide an interesting opportunity to speculate about the
reasons behind the possible final outcomes. As discussed above, if the mechanism by
which the various mutants increase stability occurs via a shift in equilibrium of subunit
interactions towards heterotetrameric AGPase formation, specific activities per
heterotetramer should be equal. Existing data for .h\/2/h33 (Greene and Hannah, 1998a)
suggest that heterotetrameric AGPase formation is increased. In order to explain
differences in specific activities per heterotetramer, however, other mechanisms must be
at work. According to data presented in Figure 10 and Table 6, it appears possible that
mutations have rendered the enzymes more efficient. By increasing subunit interactions
equilibrium has not only shifted in favor of heterotetramers, but the mechanisms by
which substrates are converted to product are altered. A change in conformation of
active site due to conformational changes in enzyme structure is but one explanation.
Undoubtedly, 3-D structure of the enzyme would offer insight as to the placement of the
amino acids and the plausibility of their effect on enzyme structure. Lack of crystal and
3-D structure, and the unequivocal data presented in this study, relegate these musings to
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Brian Timothy Burger was born to Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Burger on June 4, 1976
in Tampa, FL. He was raised throughout Florida and, with the exception of the first two
years of college, has remained a Florida native.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany from the University of
Florida in December, 1998. Upon completion of a Master of Science degree he will
attend the University of California San Diego to pursue a PhD in Biology.
His mother and father remain in Oldsmar, FL. His sister, Kristin, attends the
University of Florida.