Isolation, characterization, and localization of AgaSGNH cDNA: a new SGNH-motif plant hydrolase specific to Agave americana L. leaf epidermis

J Exp Bot. 2007;58(11):2717-31. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erm136. Epub 2007 Jul 3.


GDSL and SGNH hydrolases are lipases involved in a wide range of functions, behaving in many cases as bifunctional enzymes. In this work, the isolation and characterization of AgaSGNH, a cDNA encoding a member of the SGNH-hydrolase superfamily from young leaf epidermis of the monocot Agave americana L., is reported. The protein possesses a typical signal peptide at its N-terminus that allows its secretion to the epidermis cell wall, as verified by immunolocalization experiments. In addition, the AgaSGNH sequence contains a His-Leu-Gly-Ala-Glu (HLGAE) motif which is similar to that observed in other plant acyltransferases. Expression levels by northern blot and in situ localization of the corresponding mRNA, as well as the immunolocalization of the protein in Agave young leaves indicate that the protein is specifically present in the epidermal cells. The detailed study performed in different parts of the Agave leaf confirms two aspects: first, the expression of AgaSGNH is limited to the epidermis, and second, the maximum mRNA levels are found in the epidermis of the youngest zones of the leaf which are especially active in cutin biosynthesis. These levels dramatically decrease in the oldest zone of the leaf, where the presence of AgaSGNH mRNA is undetectable, and the biosynthesis of different cuticle components is severely reduced. These data could be compatible with the hypothesis that AgaSGNH could carry out both the hydrolysis and the transfer, from an activated acyl-CoA to a crescent cutin in Agave americana leaves and, therefore, be involved in the still unknown mechanism of plant cutin biosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agave / cytology
  • Agave / enzymology*
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • DNA, Complementary / chemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Lipase / analysis
  • Lipase / chemistry
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Lipase