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We isolated and artificially expressed a cDNA clone of the Capsicum annuum squalene synthase (CASS) gene to elucidate the pattern of alternatively regulated twobranch point enzymes. The 1,674-bp CASS cDNA contained an open reading frame of 411 amino acids, yielding a predicted molecular mass of about 45 kDa. A deduced amino acid sequence comparison to other squalene syntheses showed identities with Nicotiana tabacum (91%), Nicotiana benthamiana (90%), Arabidopsis thaliana (79%), and rats (40%). The artificially expressed soluble form of the CASS enzyme was identified by the enzyme activity that converted FPP to squalene and by SDS-PAGE. A Southern blot analysis indicated that at least two copies of the squalene synthase gene exist in the hot pepper genome. In hot pepper, the regulation of the branch point enzymes, squalene synthase and sesquiterpene cyclase was investigated in the UV-challenged leaves of Capsicum annuum. The transcript level and enzyme activity of the CASS were slightly reduced by UV. However, those of the CASC were rapidly induced within 24 h and slowly decreased thereafter.


We isolated and artificially expressed a cDNA clone of the Capsicum annuum squalene synthase (CASS) gene to elucidate the pattern of alternatively regulated twobranch point enzymes. The 1,674-bp CASS cDNA contained an open reading frame of 411 amino acids, yielding a predicted molecular mass of about 45 kDa. A deduced amino acid sequence comparison to other squalene syntheses showed identities with Nicotiana tabacum (91%), Nicotiana benthamiana (90%), Arabidopsis thaliana (79%), and rats (40%). The artificially expressed soluble form of the CASS enzyme was identified by the enzyme activity that converted FPP to squalene and by SDS-PAGE. A Southern blot analysis indicated that at least two copies of the squalene synthase gene exist in the hot pepper genome. In hot pepper, the regulation of the branch point enzymes, squalene synthase and sesquiterpene cyclase was investigated in the UV-challenged leaves of Capsicum annuum. The transcript level and enzyme activity of the CASS were slightly reduced by UV. However, those of the CASC were rapidly induced within 24 h and slowly decreased thereafter.