The diverse bacterial origins of the Arabidopsis polyamine biosynthetic pathway

Crista Illingworth, Melinda J. Mayer, Katherine Elliott, Colin Hanfrey, Nicholas J. Walton, Anthony J. Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


We functionally identified the last remaining step in the plant polyamine biosynthetic pathway by expressing an Arabidopsis thaliana agmatine iminohydrolase cDNA in yeast. Inspection of the whole pathway suggests that the arginine decarboxylase, agmatine iminohydrolase, N-carbamoylputrescine amidohydrolase route to putrescine in plants was inherited from the cyanobacterial ancestor of the chloroplast. However, the rest of the pathway including ornithine decarboxylase and spermidine synthase was probably inherited from bacterial genes present in the original host cell, common ancestor of plants and animals, that acquired the cyanobacterial endosymbiont. An exception is S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, which may represent a eukaryote-specific enzyme form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 14 2003


  • Agmatine iminohydrolase
  • Arabidopsis
  • Chloroplast targeting sequence
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Polyamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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