Flavanone-7-O-Glucosyltransferase Activity From Petunia hybrida

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Citrus spp. are known for the accumulation of flavanone glycosides (e.g., naringin comprises up to 70% of the dry weight of very young grapefruit). In contrast, petunia utilizes relatively more naringenin for production of flavonol glycosides and anthocyanins. This investigation addressed whether or not petunia is capable of glucosylation of naringenin and if so, what are the characteristics of this flavanone glucosylating enzyme. Petunia leaf tissue contains some flavanone-7-O-glucosyltransferase (E.C. activity, although at 90-fold lower levels than grapefruit leaves. This activity was partially purified 89-fold via ammonium sulfate fractionation followed by FPLC on Superose 12 and Mono Q yielding three chromatographically separate peaks of activity. The enzymes in the peak fractions glucosylated flavanone, flavonol, and flavone substrates. Enzymes in Mono Q peaks I and II were relatively more specific toward flavanone substrates and peak I was significantly more active. Enzyme activity was not effected by Ca2+, Mg2+, AMP, ADP, or ATP. The petunia enzyme was over 10,000 times more sensitive to UDP inhibition (Ki 0.89 μM) than the flavanone-specific 7GT in grapefruit. These and other results suggest that different flavonoid accumulation patterns in these two plants may be partially due to the different relative levels and biochemical properties of their flavanone glucosylating (7GT) enzymes.