Research Articles

Tryptophan-Requiring Mutants of the Plant Arabidopsis thaliana

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Science  15 Apr 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4850, pp. 305-310
DOI: 10.1126/science.240.4850.305


Although amino acid auxotrophs are among the most frequently isolated mutations in microorganisms, no mutants that require amino acids have been isolated at the whole plant level. Tryptophan-requiring mutants of the cruciferous plant Arabidopsis thaliana have now been isolated by selecting for resistance to 5-methylanthranilic acid. The tryptophan requirement of one mutant, trpl-1, results from a defect in the second step of the tryptophan pathway catalyzed by anthranilate phosphoribosyl transferase. Mutant trpl-1 plants are highly fluorescent and aromatic because they accumulate anthranilic acid and anthranilate β-glucoside. Plants homozygous for the trpl-1 mutation exhibit a syndrome of morphological defects suggestive of a defect in the biosynthesis, metabolism, or localization of a tryptophan derivative such as auxin. All of these morphological phenotypes cosegregate with the tryptophan requirement as a simple Mendelian recessive trait.

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