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Immunomodulation of polyamine biosynthesis in tobacco plants has a significant impact on polyamine levels and generates a dwarf phenotype

: Nölke, G.; Schneider, B.; Fischer, R.; Schillberg, S.


Plant biotechnology journal 3 (2005), No.2, pp.237-247
ISSN: 1467-7644
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is a cytosolic enzyme that catalyses the direct decarboxylation of l-ornithine to putrescine, one of the rate-limiting steps of polyamine biosynthesis in plants. In the present study, an ODC-specific murine single-chain antibody fragment (scFvODC1) was generated by phage display technology. To evaluate the effect of the recombinant antibody fragment on ODC activity and polyamine levels, we produced transgenic tobacco plants that accumulated scFvODC1 in the cytosol. Expression levels of up to 4% total soluble protein (TSP) were achieved, resulting in the inhibition of up to 90% of endogenous ODC activity. A significant reduction in putrescine, spermidine and spermine levels was observed in transgenic lines producing high levels of scFvODC1. Furthermore, these lines showed developmental abnormalities and a dwarf phenotype. We show that the immunomodulation of enzyme activity is a powerful approach that can be used to alter complex and tightly controlled metabolic pathways, allowing specific steps in the pathway to be blocked and the resulting physiological effects to be investigated.