|Parthasarathy A, Adams LE, Savka FC, Hudson AO
|The Arabidopsis thaliana gene annotated by the locus tag At3g08860 encodes alanine aminotransferase
|The aminotransferase gene family in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana consists of 44 genes, eight of which are suggested to be alanine aminotransferases. One of the putative alanine aminotransferases genes, At3g08860, was attributed the function of alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase/β‐alanine:pyruvate aminotransferase based on the analysis of gene expression networks and homology to other β‐alanine aminotransferases in plants. It was earlier demonstrated that At3g08860 is specifically upregulated in response to osmotic stress, but not other stresses (β‐alanine is an osmoprotectant in plants). Furthermore, it was shown that the expression of At3g08860 is highly coordinated with the genes of the uracil degradation pathway leading to the non‐proteinogenic amino acid β‐alanine. These evidence were suggestive of the involvement of At3g08860 in β‐alanine metabolism. However, direct experimental evidence for the function of At3g08860 was lacking, and therefore, the goal of this study was to elucidate the function of the uncharacterized aminotransferase annotated by the locus tag At3g08860. The cDNA of At3g08860 was demonstrated to functionally complement two E. coli mutants auxotrophic for the amino acids, L‐alanine (proteinogenic) and β‐alanine (non‐proteinogenic). Enzyme activity using purified recombinant At3g08860 further demonstrated that the enzyme is endowed with L‐alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase activity.