|Udvardi, M. K.; Kahn, M. L.
|Isolation and analysis of a cDNA clone that encodes an alfalfa (Medicago sativa) aspartate aminotransferase
|Mol Gen Genet
|Amino Acid Sequence
|We have isolated an alfalfa leaf cDNA clone that encodes aspartate aminotransferase (AAT, EC 22.214.171.124) by direct complementation of an Escherichia coli aspartate auxotroph with a plasmid cDNA library. DNA sequence analysis of the recombinant plasmid, pMU1, revealed that a 1514 bp cDNA was inserted in the correct orientation and in-frame with the start of the lacZ coding sequence in the vector, pUC18. The resulting fusion protein is predicted to be 424 amino acids in length with a molecular weight of 46387 Daltons. The cDNA-encoded protein has a characteristic pyridoxal phosphate attachment site motif and has substantial amino acid sequence homology to both animal and bacterial AATs. Plasmid pMU1 encodes an AAT with a Km for aspartate of 3.3 mM, a Km for 2-oxoglutarate of 0.28 mM, and a pH optimum between 8.0 and 8.5. Several lines of evidence including Western blot analysis, the isoelectric point of the encoded protein, and the effect of pH on the activity of the fusion protein, suggest that the cDNA encodes the isozyme AAT-1 rather than AAT-2. Northern blot analysis showed that the aat-1 clone hybridized to a 1.6 kb transcript present in alfalfa leaves, roots and nodules. The relative concentrations of aat-1 mRNA in these tissues were 1:2:5, respectively. Thus, transcription of aat-1 appears to be induced during nodule development. Southern blot analysis suggested that AAT-1 in alfalfa is encoded by either a single-copy gene or a small, multigene family.