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Forward chemical genetic screens in Arabidopsis identify genes that influence sensitivity to the phytotoxic compound sulfamethoxazole

  • Author(s): Schreiber, Karl J
  • Austin, Ryan S
  • Gong, Yunchen
  • Zhang, Jianfeng
  • Fung, Pauline
  • Wang, Pauline W
  • Guttman, David S
  • Desveaux, Darrell
  • et al.
Abstract

Background The sulfanilamide family comprises a clinically important group of antimicrobial compounds which also display bioactivity in plants. While there is evidence that sulfanilamides inhibit folate biosynthesis in both bacteria and plants, the complete network of plant responses to these compounds remains to be characterized. As such, we initiated two forward genetic screens in Arabidopsis in order to identify mutants that exhibit altered sensitivity to sulfanilamide compounds. These screens were based on the growth phenotype of seedlings germinated in the presence of the compound sulfamethoxazole (Smex). Results We identified a mutant with reduced sensitivity to Smex, and subsequent mapping indicated that a gene encoding 5-oxoprolinase was responsible for this phenotype. A mutation causing enhanced sensitivity to Smex was mapped to a gene lacking any functional annotation. Conclusions The genes identified through our forward genetic screens represent novel mediators of Arabidopsis responses to sulfanilamides and suggest that these responses extend beyond the perturbation of folate biosynthesis.

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