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Origins and structure of chloroplastic and mitochondrial plant protoporphyrinogen oxidases: implications for the evolution of herbicide resistance

Dayan, Franck E, Barker, Abigail, Tranel, Patrick J
Pest management science 2018 v.74 no.10 pp. 2226-2234
Amaranthus palmeri, Amaranthus tuberculatus, active sites, arginine, biotypes, chloroplasts, evolution, genes, glyphosate, herbicide resistance, mitochondria, protoporphyrinogen oxidase, resistance mechanisms, site-directed mutagenesis, structural biology, weeds
Protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase (PPO)‐inhibiting herbicides are effective tools to control a broad spectrum of weeds, including those that have evolved resistance to glyphosate. Their utility is being threatened by the appearance of biotypes that are resistant to PPO inhibitors. While the chloroplastic PPO1 isoform is thought to be the primary target of PPO herbicides, evolved resistance mechanisms elucidated to date are associated with changes to the mitochondrial PPO2 isoform, suggesting that the importance of PPO2 has been underestimated. Our investigation of the evolutionary and structural biology of plant PPOs provides some insight into the potential reasons why PPO2 is the preferred target for evolution of resistance. The most common target‐site mutation imparting resistance involved the deletion of a key glycine codon. The genetic environment that facilitates this deletion is apparently only present in the gene encoding PPO2 in a few species. Additionally, both species with this mutation (Amaranthus tuberculatus and Amaranthus palmeri) have dual targeting of PPO2 to both the chloroplast and the mitochondria, which might be a prerequisite to impart herbicide resistance. The most recent target‐site mutations have substituted a key arginine residue involved in stabilizing the substrate in the catalytic domain of PPO2. This arginine is highly conserved across all plant PPOs, suggesting that its substitution could be equally likely on PPO1 and PPO2, yet it has only occurred on PPO2, underscoring the importance of this isoform for the evolution of herbicide resistance. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry