Dimethylsulfoniopropionate biosynthesis in Spartina alterniflora: Evidence that S-methylmethionine and dimethylsulfoniopropylamine are intermediates

Michael G. Kocsis, Kurt D Nolte, David Rhodes, Tun Li Shen, Douglas A. Gage, Andrew D. Hanson

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The osmoprotectant 3-dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) occurs in Gramineae and Compositae, but its synthesis has been studied only in the latter. The DMSP synthesis pathway was therefore investigated in the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora Loisel. Leaf tissue metabolized supplied [35S]methionine (Met) to S-methyl-L-Met (SMM), 3-dimethylsulfoniopropylamine (DMSP-amine), and DMSP. The 35S-labeling kinetics of SMM and DMSP-amine indicated that they were intermediates and, consistent with this, the dimethylsulfonium moiety of SMM was shown by stable isotope labeling to be incorporated as a unit into DMSP. The identity of DMSP-amine, a novel natural product, was confirmed by both chemical and mass-spectral methods. 5. alterniflora readily converted supplied [35S]SMM to DMSP-amine and DMSP, and also readily converted supplied [35S] DMSP-amine to DMSP; grasses that lack DMSP did neither. A small amount of label was detected in 3-dimethylsulfoniopropionaldehyde (DMSP-ald) when [35S]SMM or [35S] DMSP-amine was given. These results are consistent with the operation of the pathway Met → SMM → DMSP-amine → DMSP-ald → DMSP, which differs from that found in Compositae by the presence of a free DMSP-amine intermediate. This dissimilarity suggests that DMSP synthesis evolved independently in Gramineae and Compositae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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