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Considering the widespread occurrence of oxalate in nature and its broad impact on a host of organisms, it is surprising that so little is known about the turnover of this important acid. In plants, oxalate oxidase is the most well-studied enzyme capable of degrading oxalate, but not all plants possess this activity. Recently, acyl-activating enzyme 3 (AAE3), encoding an oxalyl-CoA synthetase, was identified in Arabidopsis. This enzyme has been proposed to catalyze the first step in an alternative pathway of oxalate degradation. Since this initial discovery, this enzyme and proposed pathway have been found to be important to other plants and yeast as well. In this study, we identify, in Arabidopsis, an oxalyl-CoA decarboxylase (AtOXC) that is capable of catalyzing the second step in this proposed pathway of oxalate catabolism. This enzyme breaks down oxalyl-CoA, the product of AtAAE3, into formyl-CoA and CO2. AtOXC:GFP localization suggested that this enzyme functions within the cytosol of the cell. An Atoxc knock-down mutant showed a reduction in the ability to degrade oxalate into CO2. This reduction in AtOXC activity resulted in an increase in the accumulation of oxalate and the enzyme substrate, oxalyl-CoA. Size exclusion studies suggest that the enzyme functions as a dimer. Computer modeling of the AtOXC enzyme structure identified amino acids of predicted importance in co-factor binding and catalysis. Overall, these results suggest that AtOXC catalyzes the second step in this alternative pathway of oxalate catabolism.


Justin Foster, Ninghui Cheng, Vincent Paris, Lingfei Wang, Jin Wang, Xiaoqiang Wang, Paul A Nakata. An Arabidopsis Oxalyl-CoA Decarboxylase, AtOXC, Is Important for Oxalate Catabolism in Plants. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Mar 23;22(6)

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PMID: 33806862

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