• Does Gamma-aminobutyric acid function as a plant resistance mechanism against phytophagous insect activity? /

      MacGregor, Kennaway Byron.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAB A) is a ubiquitous non-protein amino acid synthesized via the decarboxylation of L-glutamate in a reaction catalyzed by the cytosolic enzyme L-glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). In animals it functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In plants it accumulates rapidly in response to various stresses, but its function remains unclear. The hypothesis that GABA accumulation in leaf tissue may function as a plant resistance mechanism against phytophagous insect activity was investigated. GABA accumulation in response to mechanical stimulation, mechanical damage and insect activity was demonstrated. In wt tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv Samsun), mechanical stimulation or damage caused GABA to accumulate within 2 min from mean levels of 14 to 37 and 1~9 nmol g-l fresh weight (FW), respectively. In the transgenic tobacco strain CaMVGAD27c overexpressing Petunia GAD, the same treatments caused GABA to accumulate from 12 to 59 and 279 nmol g-l FW, respectively. In the transgenic tobacco strain CaMVGADilC 11 overexpressing Petunia GAD lacking an autoinhibitory domain, mechanical stimulation or damage caused GABA to accumulate from 180 to 309 and 630 nmol g-l FW, respectively. Ambulatory activity by tobacco budworm (TBW) larvae (Heliothis virescens) on leaves of CaMVGAD27c tobacco caused GABA to accumulate from 28 to 80 nmol g-l FW within 5 min. Ambulatory and leaf-rolling activity by oblique banded leaf roller (OBLR) larvae (Choristoneura rosaceana cv Harris) on wt soybean leaves (Glycine max cv Harovinton) caused GABA to accumulate from 60 to 1123 nmol g-l FW within 20 min. Increased GABA levels in leaf tissue were shown to affect phytophagous preference in TBW larvae presented with wt and transgenic tobacco leaves. When presented with leaves of Samsun wt and CaMVGAD27c plants, TBW larvae consumed more wt leaf tissue (640 ± 501 S.D. mm2 ) than transgenic leaf tissue (278 ± 338 S.D. mm2 ) nine times out of ten. When presented with leaves of Samsun wt and CaMVGAD~C11 plants, TBW larvae consumed more transgenic leaf tissue (1219 ± 1009 S.D. mm2 ) than wt leaf tissue (28 ± 31 S.D. mm2 ) ten times out of ten. These results indicate that: (1) ambulatory activity of insect larvae on leaves results in increased GABA levels, (2) transgenic tobacco leaves with increased capacity for GABA synthesis deter feeding, and (3) transgenic tobacco leaves with constitutively higher GABA levels stimulate feeding.
    • GABA accumulation and the hypersensitive response in isolated mesophyll cells treated with the G protein activator mastoparan

      Allen, Lisa J.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-07-09)
      GABA (y-amino butyric acid) is a non-protein amino acid synthesized through the a-decarboxylation of L-glutamate. This reaction is catalyzed by L-glutamate decarboxylase (EC, a cytosolic Ca2+/calmodulin-stimulated enzyme. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not GABA accumulation is associated with the hypersensitive response of isolated Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells. The addition of 25 J.lM mastoparan, a G protein activator, to suspensions of isolated asparagus mesophyll cells significantly increased GABA synthesis and cell death. Cell death was assessed using Evan's blue dye and fluorescein diacetate tests for cell viability. In addition, mastoparan stimulated pH-dependent alkalinization of the external medium, and a rapid and large 02 consumption followed by a loss of photosynthetic activity. The rate of 02 consumption and the net decrease in 02 in the dark was enhanced by light. The inactive mastoparan analogue Mas17 was ineffective in stimulating GABA accumulation, medium alkalinization, 02 uptake and cell death. Accumulation of H202 in response tomastoparan was not detected, however, mastoparan caused the cell-dependent degradation of added H202. The pH dependence of mastoparan-stimulated alkalinization suggests cellular electrolyte leakage, while the consumption of 02 corresponds to the oxidative burst in which 02 at the cell surface is reduced to form various active oxygen species. The results are indicative of the "hypersensitive response" of plants to pathogen attack, namely, the death of cells in the locality of pathogen invasion. The data are compatible with a model in which mastoparan triggers G protein activity, subsequent intracellular signal transduction pathway/s, and the hypersensitive response. It is postulated that the physiological elicitation of the hypersensitive response involves G protein signal transduction. The synthesis of GABA during the hypersensitive response has not been documented previously; however the role/s of GABA synthesis in the hypersensitive response, if any, remain unclear.
    • Is GABA involved in regulating plant growth and development? /

      Zhang, Guijin.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-05-21)
      Rapid and large accumulation of GABA (y-aminobutyric acid) in response to a number of plant stresses has been well documented. But the role(s) of GABA in plants is not well defined. In recent years, the possibility of GABA involvement in regulating plant growth and development has been raised. In the present study, this possibility was examined. First, to rapidly and accurately determine GABA levels in plant tissues, a spectrometric method for GABA determination was developed based on a commercially available enzyme Gabase. Seventy mM LaCb almost completely removed water-soluble pigments from plant tissues which greatly interfere with the absorbance reading at 340nm. Inactivation of GAD (glutamate decarboxylase) by immediately adding methanol to a frozen plant tissue powder was suggested to prevent GABA production during extraction. The recovery of GABA with this method was approximately 100%. Second, the relationship between GABA levels and hypocotyl elongation in soybean seedlings was analyzed using different approaches to regulate in vivo GABA levels and the elongation of hypocotyls. The following major observations were made. (1) Mechanical stimulation by stroking elevated GABA levels and concurrently induced a rapid and significant reduction in hypocotyl elongation. (2) External GABA was demonstrated to penetrate into the hypocotyls using '*C-GABA. Application of external GABA elevated in vivo GABA levels, but failed to inhibit hypocotyl elongation. (3) LaCla and blue light irradiation caused an inhibition in the elongation of dark-grown hypocotyls, whereas GABA levels were not significantly affected. (4) Ca^was suggested to be involved in the signal transduction pathway leading from mechanical stimulation to GABA production, as indicated by the ability of La'* to inhibit GABA production in stimulated hypocotyls. (5) Bicuculline, saclofen and baclofen (agonists and antagonists of GABA receptors in animals) had no effect on hypocotyl elongation. It might indicate that GABA-binding components which are structurally similar to animal GABA receptors and functionally capable of regulating plant growth may not exist in plants. Therefore, the conclusion was drawn that GABA alone is not sufficient to inhibit hypocotyl elongation. Third, chloride influx in isolated Asparagus cells was enhanced by lOmM GABA during a 3 hour incubation, but the effect was not specific for GABA. Chloride efflux was not influenced by GABA. Both influx and efflux of chloride were significantly inhibited by NPPB, a chloride channel blocker. These results suggest that GABA does not influence the activity of plant chloride channels.
    • L-Glutamate uptake, decarboxylation to -aminobutyric acid and GABA efflux in isolated Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells

      Chung, Induk.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1989-07-09)
      Addition of L-glutamate caused alkalinization of the medium surrounding Asparagus spreng.ri mesophyll cells. This suggests a H+/L-glutmate symport uptake system for L-glutamate. However stoichiometries of H+/L-glutamate symport into Asparagus cells were much higher than those in other plant systems. Medium alkalinization may also result from a metabolic decarboxylation process. Since L-glutmate is decarboxylated to r-amino butyric acid (SABA) in this system, the origin of medium alkalinization was reconsidered. Suspensions of mechanically isolated and photosyntheically competent Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells were used to investigate the H+/L-glutamate symport system, SABA production, GABA transport, and the origin of L-glutamate dependent medium alkalinization. The major results obtained are summarized as follows: 1. L-Glutamate and GABA were the second or third most abundant amino acids in these cells. Cellular concentrations of L-glutamate were 1.09 mM and 1.31 mM in the light and dark, respectively. Those of SABA were 1.23 mM and 1.17 mM in the light and dark, respectively. 2. Asparagine was the most abundant amino acid in xylem sap and comprised 54 to 68 1. of the amino acid pool on a molar basis. GABA was the second most abundant amino acid and represented 10 to 11 1. of the amino acid pool. L-Slutamate was a minor component. 3. A 10 minute incubation with 1 mM L-glutamate increased the production of GABA in the medium by 2,743 7. and 2,241 7. in the light and dark, respectively. 4. L-Glutamate entered the cells prior to decarboxylation. 5. There was no evidence for a H+/GABA symport process • 6. GABA was produced by loss of carbon-1 of L-glutamate. 7. The specific activity of newly synthesized labeled GABA suggests that it is not equilibrated with a storage pool of GABA. 8. The mechanism of GABA efflux appears to be a passive process. 9. The evidence indicates that the origin of L-glutamate dependent medium alkalinization is a H+/L-glutamate symport not an extracellular decarboxylation. The possible role of GABA production in regulating cytoplasmic pH and L-glutamate levels during rapid electrogenic H+/L-glutamate symport is discussed.
    • The production of 4-adminobutyrate in response to treatments reducing cytosolic pH and the regulation of intracellular pH

      Crawford, Lesley A.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      GABA (4-aminobutyrate) is synthesized through the decarboxylation of LGlu- (L-Glu-+ H+ ---> GABA + C02), and compared to many free amino acids is present in high concentrations in plant cells. GABA levels rise rapidly and dramatically in response to varied stress conditions including anaerobiosis. Recent papers suggest that GABA production and associated H+ consumption are parts of a metabolic pH-stat mechanism which ameliorates the intracellular pH decline associated with anaerobiosis or other treatments. To test this hypothesis GABA production and efflux have been measured in isolated Asparagus sprengeri cells in response to three treatments which potentially cause intracellular acidification. Acid loads were imposed using 60 min of (i) anaerobiosis, (ii) H+/LGlu- cotransport, and (iii) treatment with permeant weak acids (butyric, acetic and propionic). Both intra- and extracellular GABA concentrations increased more than 100% after anaerobiosis, almost 1000% after H+/L-Glu- cotransport (light or dark) and almost 5000/0 after addition of 5 mM butyric acid at pH 5.0. HPLC analysis of amino acids indicates that as GABA concentrations increased in response to butyric acid addition, glutamate concentrations decreased. Time-course studies demonstrated that added butyric acid stimulates GABA production by 2800/0 within 15 seconds. A fluorescent determination of cytosolic pH indicates that addition of butyric or other weak acids resulted in a rapid reduction in cytosolic pH of 0.6 pH units. The half time for the response to butyric acid addition is 2.1 seconds, indicating that the decline in cytosolic pH is rapid enough to account for the rapid stimulation of GABA production. The acid load in response to butyric acid addition was assayed by measurements of 14C-butyric acid uptake. Calculations indicate that GABA production accounted for 45% of the imposed acid load. The biological significance of GABA efflux is not yet understood. The results support the original hypothesis suggesting a role for GABA production in cellular pH regulation.
    • Rapid [Gamma]-amino acid synthesis and the inhibition of the growth and development of oblique banded leaf-roller larvae

      Ramputh, Al-Idrissi.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      The hypothesis that rapid y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) accumulation is a plant defense against phytophagous insects was investigated. Simulation of mechanical damage resulting from phytophagous insect activity increased soybean (Glycine max L.) leaf GABA 10- to 25-fold within 1 to 4 min. Pulverizing leaf tissue resulted in a value of 2. 15 (±O. 11 SE) ~mol GABA per gram fresh weight. Increasing the GABA levels in a synthetic diet from 1.6 to 2.6 Jlffiol GABA per gram fresh weight reduced the growth rates, developmental rates, total biomass (50% reduction), and survival rates (30% reduction) of cultured Oblique banded leaf-roller (OBLR) (Choristonellra rosacealla Harris) larvae. In field experiments OBLR larvae were found predominantly on young terminal leaves which have a reduced capacity to produce GABA in response to mechanical damage. Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) is a cytosolic enzyme which catalyses the decarboxylation of L-Glu to GABA. GAD is a calmodulin binding enzyme whose activity is stimulated dramatically by increased cytosolic H+ or Ca2 + ion concentrations. Phytophagous insect activity will disrupt the cellular compartmentation of H+ and Ca2 +, activate GAD and subsequent GABA accumulation. In animals GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter. The possible mechanisms resulting in GABA inhibited growth and development of insects are discussed.