Plants produce a vast array of secondary metabolites. The phenolic compounds flavonoids are ubiquitous among plants and are known to aid in processes such as plant reproduction, UV defense, pigmentation and development. In relation to human health, flavonoids have also been found to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant properties. Flavonoids ability to participate in so many interactions is due in part to their subclass variation and further chemical modification. One such modification is glucosylation, where a glucose molecule is added to the flavonoid substrate, reactions catalyzed by glucosyltransferases. Citrus paradise contains a glucosyltransferase that is specific to the 3-O position of flavonols. To further understand the reactions it catalyzes, Cp3-O-GT structure was modelled against an anthocyanidin/flavonol 3 GT found in Vitis vinifera to identify candidate amino acids for mutations. Mutants were then created using site-directed mutagenesis, and one mutant, D344P, was constructed by an aspartate being replaced with a proline based off of the sequence comparison of the original enzymes. Biochemically characterizing the mutant D344P protein will determine whether the mutation has an effect on the regio and/or steriospecificity of Cp3-OGT. An initial screening assay has been performed using radioactive UDP-glucose as a sugar donor. Early results indicated that the mutant D344P has particular affinity for flavonols and for diosmetin, a flavone. Kinetic assays are being performed to confirm these results. Studies of time course, enzyme concentration, HPLC product analysis, pH optimum and reaction kinetics will be performed to further complete D344P protein characterization.
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