l-Galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase (GLDH) catalyses the last enzymatic step of the ascorbate biosynthetic pathway in plants. GLDH is localised to mitochondria and several reports have shown that GLDH is associated with complex I of the respiratory chain. In a gldh knock-out mutant, complex I is not detectable, suggesting that GLDH is essential for complex I assembly or stability. GLDH has not been identified as a genuine complex I subunit, instead, it is present in a smaller, lowly abundant version of complex I called complex I*. In addition, GLDH activity has also been detected in smaller protein complexes within mitochondria membranes. Here, we investigated the role of GLDH during complex I assembly. We identified GLDH in complexes co-localising with some complex I assembly intermediates. Using a mutant that accumulates complex I assembly intermediates, we confirmed that GLDH is associated with the complex I assembly intermediates of 400 and 450 kDa. In addition, we detected accumulation of the 200 kDa complex I assembly intermediate in the gldh mutant. Taken together, our data suggest that GLDH is an assembly factor of the membrane arm of complex I. This function appears to be independent of the role of GLDH in ascorbate synthesis, as evidenced by the ascorbate-deficient mutant vtc2-1 accumulating wild-type levels of complex I. Therefore, we propose that GLDH is a dual-function protein that has a second, non-enzymatic function in complex I assembly as a plant-specific assembly factor. We propose an updated model for complex I assembly that includes complex I* as an assembly intermediate.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 31, 2015
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