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The growth of crown-gall tumors on primary bean leaves (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. "Pinto") was promoted by the addition of d-lysopine, d-octopine, l-carnosine, or nopaline. Assayed on tumors induced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain B6, the relative activity was octopine = carnosine > lysopine >> nopaline; assayed on tumors induced by A. tumefaciens strain T-37, which induces tumors which form nopaline, the relative activity was nopaline = octopine = carnosine > lysopine. From one to three applications of carnosine or octopine gave equal additive increments in tumor growth, showing that a continual supply of these substances is required to maintain an increased rate of growth. At concentrations above 0.1 mm, pairs of these growth-promoting substances were less active than when applied singly. Inhibition of octopine-induced growth was obtained by applying 0.01 mm carnosine with 1 mm octopine and partial inhibition was obtained when carnosine was added 10 hr after octopine. Equimolar mixtures of lysopine, octopine, and carnosine, however, were at least as active in promoting tumor growth as any of the compounds added singly at equivalent concentrations. The activity of 0.1 to 0.5 mm lysopine, octopine, and carnosine was inhibited, respectively, by 1 mml-lysine, l-arginine, and l-histidine and this inhibition was limited in each case to the basic amino acid corresponding to that of the growth factor. Arginine fully inhibited octopine-induced tumor growth when applied as much as 6 hr after octopine, indicating that this inhibition was not due to prevention of octopine uptake. Although four separate substances were found which promoted tumor growth, the molecular specificity required for activity of each compound was high. Evidence is presented which suggests that a tumor growth-promoting substance extracted from tumorous leaves is a carnosine-like derivative of l-histidine.


J A Lippincott, B B Lippincott, C C Chang. Promotion of crown-gall tumor growth by lysopine, octopine, nopaline, and carnosine. Plant physiology. 1972 Feb;49(2):131-7

PMID: 16657911

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