A bifunctional epimerase-reductase acts downstream of the MUR1 gene product and completes the de novo synthesis of GDP-L-fucose in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2000 Mar;21(5):445-54. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00698.x.


L-Fucose is a monosaccharide found as a component of glycoproteins and cell wall polysaccharides in higher plants. The MUR1 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a GDP-D-mannose 4,6-dehydratase catalyzing the first step in the de novo synthesis of GDP-L-fucose from GDP-D-mannose (Bonin et al. 1997, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 2085-2090). Plant genes encoding the subsequent steps in L-fucose synthesis (3,5-epimerization and 4-reduction) have not been described previously. Based on sequence similarities to a bacterial gene involved in capsule synthesis we have cloned a gene from Arabidopsis, now designated GER1, which encodes a bifunctional 3, 5-epimerase-4-reductase in L-fucose synthesis. The combined action of the MUR1 and GER1 gene products converts GDP-D-mannose to GDP-L-fucose in vitro demonstrating that this entire nucleotide-sugar interconversion pathway could be reconstituted using plant genes expressed in Escherichia coli. In vitro assays indicated that the GER1 protein does not act as a GDP-D-mannose 3, 5-epimerase, an enzymatic activity involved in the de novo synthesis of GDP-L-galactose and L-ascorbic acid. Similarly, L-ascorbate levels in GER1 antisense plants were unchanged indicating that GDP-D-mannose 3,5-epimerase is encoded by a separate gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carbohydrate Epimerases / genetics
  • Carbohydrate Epimerases / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Guanosine Diphosphate Fucose / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multienzyme Complexes*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • wcaG protein, E coli
  • Guanosine Diphosphate Fucose
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases
  • Carbohydrate Epimerases
  • GER1 protein, Arabidopsis