Localization of enzymes and alkaloidal metabolites in Papaver latex

Margaret F. Roberts, David McCarthy, Toni M. Kutchan, Carmine J. Coscia

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In continuing studies on the metabolic activity of Papaver somniferum, latex has been examined for its enzyme and alkaloidal metabolite content. After an initial centrifugation of latex at 1000g, the pellet which contained a heterogeneous population of dense organelles was further resolved on sucrose gradients. Of the enzymes monitored, acid phosphatase and l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine decarboxylase were found to be in the latex 1000g supernatant, whereas catecholase (polyphenolase) was localized in two distinct organelles within the 1000g sediment. The lighter organelles, sedimenting at 30% sucrose, contained a soluble enzyme which was readily released on organelle plasmolysis, whereas the catecholase found within the heavier organelles, sedimenting at 55-60% sucrose, was membrane bound and showed significant activity only in the presence of Triton X-100. These latter organelles also contained the alkaloids, including morphine and thebaine, and were observed to readily accumulate [14CH3]morphine. The alkaloid precursor, dopamine, was localized in the same dense vesicle fraction as the alkaloids. The rate of uptake of [7-14C]dopamine into these fractions at room temperature, however, was markedly lower than that of morphine. Electron microscopic examination of the organelles of various densities revealed that they possessed different morphology. The results are consistent with the concept that both the 1000g and supernatant fractions of the latex are required for alkaloid biosynthesis and that a sub-population of dense organelles found in the 1000g sediment have at least a function as a storage compartment for both alkaloids and their catecholamine precursor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-609
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 1983


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