Arabidopsis roots accumulate a complex mixture of dolichols composed of three families, (i.e., short-, medium- and long-chain dolichols), but until now none of the cis-prenyltransferases (CPTs) predicted in the Arabidopsis genome has been considered responsible for their synthesis. In this report, using homo- and heterologous (yeast and tobacco) models, we have characterized the AtCPT1 gene (At2g23410) which encodes a CPT responsible for the formation of long-chain dolichols, Dol-18 to -23, with Dol-21 dominating, in Arabidopsis. The content of these dolichols was significantly reduced in AtCPT1 T-DNA insertion mutant lines and highly increased in AtCPT1-overexpressing plants. Similar to the majority of eukaryotic CPTs, AtCPT1 is localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Functional complementation tests using yeast rer2Δ or srt1Δ mutants devoid of medium- or long-chain dolichols, respectively, confirmed that this enzyme synthesizes long-chain dolichols, although the dolichol chains thus formed are somewhat shorter than those synthesized in planta. Moreover, AtCPT1 acts as a homomeric CPT and does not need LEW1 for its activity. AtCPT1 is the first plant CPT producing long-chain polyisoprenoids that does not form a complex with the NgBR/NUS1 homologue.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; T-DNA insertion mutant; cis-prenyltransferase; dolichols; polyisoprenoids; polyprenols; protein N-glycosylation; rer2Δ and srt1Δ Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant.