Analysis of Arabidopsis arginase gene transcription patterns indicates specific biological functions for recently diverged paralogs

Plant Mol Biol. 2008 Jul;67(4):429-40. doi: 10.1007/s11103-008-9336-2. Epub 2008 Apr 19.


The detailed expression patterns of transcripts of two Arabidopsis arginase genes, ARGAH1 and ARGAH2, have not been previously described, and phylogenetic analysis suggests that they diverged independently of duplication events in other lineages. Therefore, we used beta-glucuronidase reporter fusions and quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR to analyze tissue-specific expression of ARGAH1 and ARGAH2 during Arabidopsis development, and in response to the availability of nutrients and exposure to methyl jasmonate (MeJA). We demonstrated tissue-specific transcript expression and enzyme activity in pollen for ARGAH1, but not ARGAH2. Conversely, we demonstrated MeJA-inducibility of ARGAH2, but not ARGAH1. In addition, we used microarrays to identify genes for which transcript abundance following MeJA treatment differed in wild type and ARGAH2 mutants. These ARGAH2 and MeJA responsive genes included a putative pathogenesis-related protein pathogenesis response-1 (At2g14610), and a gene of unknown function (At5g03090). Interestingly, these genes had opposite responses to the loss of ARGAH2, suggesting multiple downstream effects of arginase activity, following MeJA treatment. These results, and the variety and complexity of expression patterns of ARGAH1 and ARGAH2 transcript expression and their related reporter gene fusions that we observed point to multiple functions of arginase genes in Arabidopsis, some of which have resulted through a sub-functionalization not shared by all angiosperms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arginase / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA Primers
  • Arginase