Molecular cloning of the gene for indolepyruvate decarboxylase from Enterobacter cloacae.
Although indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) is a well-known plant hormone, the main IAA biosynthetic pathway from L-tryptophan (Trp) via indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPyA) has yet to be elucidated. Previous studies have suggested that IAA is produced by Enterobacter cloacae isolated from the rhizosphere of cucumbers and its biosynthetic pathway may possibly be the same as that in plants. To elucidate this pathway, the IAA biosynthetic gene was isolated from a genomic library of E. cloacae by assaying for the ability to convert Trp to IAA. DNA sequence analysis showed that this gene codes for only one enzyme and its predicted protein sequence has extensive homology with pyruvate decarboxylase in yeast and Zymomonas mobilis. Cell-free extracts prepared from Escherichia coli harboring this gene could convert IPyA to indole-3-acetaldehyde (IAAld). These results clearly show that this pathway is mediated only by indolepyruvate decarboxylase, which catalyzes the conversion of IPyA to IAAld.