TAKs, thylakoid membrane protein kinases associated with energy transduction.
The phosphorylation of proteins within the eukaryotic photosynthetic membrane is thought to regulate a number of photosynthetic processes in land plants and algae. Both light quality and intensity influence protein kinase activity via the levels of reductants produced by the thylakoid electron transport chain. We have isolated a family of proteins called TAKs, Arabidopsis thylakoid membrane threonine kinases that phosphorylate the light harvesting complex proteins. TAK activity is enhanced by reductant and is associated with the photosynthetic reaction center II and the cytochrome b6f complex. TAKs are encoded by a gene family that has striking similarity to transforming growth factor beta receptors of metazoans. Thus thylakoid protein phosphorylation may be regulated by a cascade of reductant-controlled membrane-bound protein kinases. (+info
Molecular cloning of the maize gene crp1 reveals similarity between regulators of mitochondrial and chloroplast gene expression.
The maize nuclear gene crp1 is required for the translation of the chloroplast petA and petD mRNAs and for the processing of the petD mRNA from a polycistronic precursor. In order to understand the biochemical role of the crp1 gene product and the interconnections between chloroplast translation and RNA metabolism, the crp1 gene and cDNA were cloned. The predicted crp1 gene product (CRP1) is related to nuclear genes in fungi that play an analogous role in mitochondrial gene expression, suggesting an underlying mechanistic similarity. Analysis of double mutants that lack both chloroplast ribosomes and crp1 function indicated that CRP1 activates a site-specific endoribonuclease independently of any role it plays in translation. Antibodies prepared to recombinant CRP1 were used to demonstrate that CRP1 is localized to the chloroplast stroma and that it is a component of a multisubunit complex. The CRP1 complex is not associated detectably with either chloroplast membranes or chloroplast ribosomes. Models for CRP1 function and its relationship to other activators of organellar translation are discussed. (+info
The Qo site of cytochrome b6f complexes controls the activation of the LHCII kinase.
We created a Qo pocket mutant by site-directed mutagenesis of the chloroplast petD gene in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We mutated the conserved PEWY sequence in the EF loop of subunit IV into PWYE. The pwye mutant did not grow in phototrophic conditions although it assembled wild-type levels of cytochrome b6f complexes. We demonstrated a complete block in electron transfer through the cytochrome b6f complex and a loss of plastoquinol binding at Qo. The accumulation of cytochrome b6f complexes lacking affinity for plastoquinol enabled us to investigate the role of plastoquinol binding at Qo in the activation of the light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) kinase during state transitions. We detected no fluorescence quenching at room temperature in state II conditions relative to that in state I. The quantum yield spectrum of photosystem I charge separation in the two state conditions displayed a trough in the absorption region of the major chlorophyll a/b proteins, demonstrating that the cells remained locked in state I. 33Pi labeling of the phosphoproteins in vivo demonstrated that the antenna proteins remained poorly phosphorylated in both state conditions. Thus, the absence of state transitions in the pwye mutant demonstrates directly that plastoquinol binding in the Qo pocket is required for LHCII kinase activation. (+info
The Qo-site inhibitor DBMIB favours the proximal position of the chloroplast Rieske protein and induces a pK-shift of the redox-linked proton.
The interaction of the inhibitor 2,5-dibromo-3-methyl-6-isopropylbenzoquinone (DBMIB) with the Rieske protein of the chloroplast b6f complex has been studied by EPR. All three redox states of DBMIB were found to interact with the iron-sulphur cluster. The presence of the oxidised form of DBMIB altered the equilibrium distribution of the Rieske protein's conformational substates, strongly favouring the proximal position close to heme bL. In addition to this conformational effect, DBMIB shifted the pK-value of the redox-linked proton involved in the iron-sulphur cluster's redox transition by about 1.5 pH units towards more acidic values. The implications of these results with respect to the interaction of the native quinone substrate and the Rieske cluster in cytochrome bc complexes are discussed. (+info
An engineered cytochrome b6c1 complex with a split cytochrome b is able to support photosynthetic growth of Rhodobacter capsulatus.
The ubihydroquinone-cytochrome c oxidoreductase (or the cytochrome bc1 complex) from Rhodobacter capsulatus is composed of the Fe-S protein, cytochrome b, and cytochrome c1 subunits encoded by petA(fbcF), petB(fbcB), and petC(fbcC) genes organized as an operon. In the work reported here, petB(fbcB) was split genetically into two cistrons, petB6 and petBIV, which encoded two polypeptides corresponding to the four amino-terminal and four carboxyl-terminal transmembrane helices of cytochrome b, respectively. These polypeptides resembled the cytochrome b6 and su IV subunits of chloroplast cytochrome b6f complexes, and together with the unmodified subunits of the cytochrome bc1 complex, they formed a novel enzyme, named cytochrome b6c1 complex. This membrane-bound multisubunit complex was functional, and despite its smaller amount, it was able to support the photosynthetic growth of R. capsulatus. Upon further mutagenesis, a mutant overproducing it, due to a C-to-T transition at the second base of the second codon of petBIV, was obtained. Biochemical analyses, including electron paramagnetic spectroscopy, with this mutant revealed that the properties of the cytochrome b6c1 complex were similar to those of the cytochrome bc1 complex. In particular, it was highly sensitive to inhibitors of the cytochrome bc1 complex, including antimycin A, and the redox properties of its b- and c-type heme prosthetic groups were unchanged. However, the optical absorption spectrum of its cytochrome bL heme was modified in a way reminiscent of that of a cytochrome b6f complex. Based on the work described here and that with Rhodobacter sphaeroides (R. Kuras, M. Guergova-Kuras, and A. R. Crofts, Biochemistry 37:16280-16288, 1998), it appears that neither the inhibitor resistance nor the redox potential differences observed between the bacterial (or mitochondrial) cytochrome bc1 complexes and the chloroplast cytochrome b6f complexes are direct consequences of splitting cytochrome b into two separate polypeptides. The overall findings also illustrate the possible evolutionary relationships among various cytochrome bc oxidoreductases. (+info
Isolation and characterization of photoautotrophic mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii deficient in state transition.
In photosynthetic cells of higher plants and algae, the distribution of light energy between photosystem I and photosystem II is controlled by light quality through a process called state transition. It involves a reorganization of the light-harvesting complex of photosystem II (LHCII) within the thylakoid membrane whereby light energy captured preferentially by photosystem II is redirected toward photosystem I or vice versa. State transition is correlated with the reversible phosphorylation of several LHCII proteins and requires the presence of functional cytochrome b(6)f complex. Most factors controlling state transition are still not identified. Here we describe the isolation of photoautotrophic mutants of the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which are deficient in state transition. Mutant stt7 is unable to undergo state transition and remains blocked in state I as assayed by fluorescence and photoacoustic measurements. Immunocytochemical studies indicate that the distribution of LHCII and of the cytochrome b(6)f complex between appressed and nonappressed thylakoid membranes does not change significantly during state transition in stt7, in contrast to the wild type. This mutant displays the same deficiency in LHCII phosphorylation as observed for mutants deficient in cytochrome b(6)f complex that are known to be unable to undergo state transition. The stt7 mutant grows photoautotrophically, although at a slower rate than wild type, and does not appear to be more sensitive to photoinactivation than the wild-type strain. Mutant stt3-4b is partially deficient in state transition but is still able to phosphorylate LHCII. Potential factors affected in these mutant strains and the function of state transition in C. reinhardtii are discussed. (+info
Analysis of the nucleus-encoded and chloroplast-targeted rieske protein by classic and site-directed mutagenesis of Chlamydomonas.
Three mutants of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii affected in the nuclear PETC gene encoding the Rieske iron-sulfur protein 2Fe-2S subunit of the chloroplast cytochrome b(6)f complex have been characterized. One has a stable deletion that eliminates the protein; two others carry substitutions Y87D and W163R that result in low accumulation of the protein. Attenuated expression of the stromal protease ClpP increases accumulation and assembly into b(6)f complexes of the Y87D and W163R mutant Rieske proteins in quantities sufficient for analysis. Electron-transfer kinetics of these complexes were 10- to 20-fold slower than those for the wild type. The deletion mutant was used as a recipient for site-directed mutant petC alleles. Six glycine residues were replaced by alanine residues (6G6A) in the flexible hinge that is critical for domain movement; substitutions were created near the 2Fe-2S cluster (S128 and W163); and seven C-terminal residues were deleted (G171och). Although the 6G6A and G171och mutations affect highly conserved segments in the chloroplast Rieske protein, photosynthesis in the mutants was similar to that of the wild type. These results establish the basis for mutational analysis of the nuclear-encoded and chloroplast-targeted Rieske protein of photosynthesis. (+info
Targeted inactivation of the smallest plastid genome-encoded open reading frame reveals a novel and essential subunit of the cytochrome b(6)f complex.
The smallest conserved open reading frame in the plastid genome, ycf6, potentially specifies a hydrophobic polypeptide of only 29 amino acids. In order to determine the function of this reading frame we have constructed a knockout allele for ycf6. This allele was introduced into the tobacco plastid genome by chloroplast transformation to replace the wild-type ycf6 allele. Homoplasmic Deltaycf6 plants display a photosynthetically incompetent phenotype. Whereas the two photosystems are intact and physiologically active, we found that the electron transfer from photosystem II to photosystem I is interrupted in Deltaycf6 plants. Molecular analyses revealed that this block is caused by the complete absence of the cytochrome b(6)f complex, the redox-coupling complex that interconnects the two photosystems. Analysis of purified cytochrome b(6)f complex by mass spectroscopy revealed the presence of a protein that has exactly the molecular mass calculated for the Ycf6 protein. This suggests that Ycf6 is a genuine subunit of the cytochrome b(6)f complex, which plays a crucial role in complex assembly and/or stability. We therefore propose to rename the ycf6 reading frame petN. (+info