Juvenile Hormone III is of great concern due to negative effects on major developmental and reproductive maturation in insect pests. Thus, the elucidation of enzymes involved JH III biosynthetic pathway has become increasing important in recent years. One of the enzymes in the JH III biosynthetic pathway that remains to be isolated and characterized is farnesal dehydrogenase, an enzyme responsible to catalyze the oxidation of farnesal into farnesoic acid. A novel NAD+-farnesal dehydrogenase of Polygonum minus was purified (315-fold) to apparent homogeneity in five chromatographic steps. The purification procedures included Gigacap S-Toyopearl 650M, Gigacap Q-Toyopearl 650M, and AF-Blue Toyopearl 650ML, followed by TSK Gel G3000SW chromatographies. The enzyme, with isoelectric point of 6.6 is a monomeric enzyme with a molecular mass of 70 kDa. The enzyme was relatively active at 40°C, but was rapidly inactivated above 45°C. The optimal temperature and pH of the enzyme were found to be 35°C and 9.5, respectively. The enzyme activity was inhibited by sulfhydryl agent, chelating agent, and metal ion. The enzyme was highly specific for farnesal and NAD+. Other terpene aldehydes such as trans- cinnamaldehyde, citral and α- methyl cinnamaldehyde were also oxidized but in lower activity. The Km values for farnesal, citral, trans- cinnamaldehyde, α- methyl cinnamaldehyde and NAD+ were 0.13, 0.69, 0.86, 1.28 and 0.31 mM, respectively. The putative P. minus farnesal dehydrogenase that's highly specific towards farnesal but not to aliphatic aldehydes substrates suggested that the enzyme is significantly different from other aldehyde dehydrogenases that have been reported. The MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS/MS spectrometry further identified two peptides that share similarity to those of previously reported aldehyde dehydrogenases. In conclusion, the P. minus farnesal dehydrogenase may represent a novel plant farnesal dehydrogenase that exhibits distinctive substrate specificity towards farnesal. Thus, it was suggested that this novel enzyme may be functioning specifically to oxidize farnesal in the later steps of JH III pathway. This report provides a basic understanding for recombinant production of this particular enzyme. Other strategies such as adding His-tag to the protein makes easy the purification of the protein which is completely different to the native protein. Complete sequence, structure and functional analysis of the enzyme will be important for developing insect-resistant crop plants by deployment of transgenic plant.
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