Cystathionine γ-synthase, the first committed enzyme of methionine biosynthesis in higher plants, is encoded by the CGS1 gene in Arabidopsis thaliana. We have shown previously that the stability of the CGS1 mRNA is negatively regulated in response to methionine application [Chiba, Y., Ishikawa, M., Kijima, F., Tyson, R. H., Kim, J., Yamamoto, A., Nambara, E., Leustek, T., Wallsgrove, R. M. & Naito, S. (1999) Science 286, 1371-1374]. To determine whether methionine itself is the effector of the CGS1 exon 1-mediated posttranscriptional regulation, we carried out transfection experiments. The results suggested that, rather than methionine, S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet), or one of its metabolites, acts as the effector of this regulation. To further identify the actual effector, we exploited the wheat germ in vitro translation system. The effects of various metabolites and analogs of AdoMet were tested by using RNA carrying a CGS1 exon 1-reporter fusion. These tests identified AdoMet as the effector of this regulation. S-adenosyl-l-ethionine, an analog of AdoMet, also had effector activity. A. thaliana mto1 mutants, which are deficient in this regulation, showed a much reduced response to AdoMet in vitro, with a leaky allele showing a less reduced response. RNA translated in vitro in the presence of AdoMet contained a 5′-truncated RNA species, similar to the one that we previously suggested was an in vivo degradation intermediate of CGS1 mRNA. Together, the results show that the basic reactions of CGS1 exon 1-mediated posttranscriptional regulation occur in the wheat germ in vitro translation system, and that AdoMet acts as the effector
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