NADPH:protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase (POR) catalyzes the light-dependent reduction of protochlorophyllide (pchlide) to chlorophyllide (chlide) in the biosynthesis of chlorophyll. POR is a peripheral membrane protein that accumulates to high levels in the prolamellar bodies of vascular plant etioplasts and is present at low levels in the thylakoid membranes of developing and mature plastids. Clustered charged-to-alanine scanning mutagenesis of the pea (Pisum sativum L.) POR was carried out and the resulting mutant enzymes analyzed for their ability to catalyze pchlide photoconversion in vivo and to associate properly with thylakoid membrane preparations in vitro. Of 37 mutant enzymes examined, 5 retained wild-type levels of activity, 14 were catalytically inactive, and the remaining 18 exhibited altered levels of function. Several of the mutant enzymes showed temperature- dependent enzymatic activity, being inactive at 32 °C, but partially active at 24 °C. Mutations in predicted α- helical regions of the protein showed the least effect on enzyme activity, whereas mutations in predicted β-sheet regions of the protein showed a consistent adverse affect on enzyme function. In the absence of added NADPH, neither wild-type POR nor any of the mutant PORs resisted proteolysis by thermolysin following assembly onto the thylakoid membranes. In contrast, when NADPH was present in the assay mixture, 13 of the 37 mutant PORs examined were found to be resistant to thermolysin upon treatment, suggesting that the mutations did not affect their ability to be properly attached to the thylakoid membrane. In general, the replacement of charged amino acids by alanine in the most N- and C-terminal regions of the mature protein did not significantly affect POR assembly, whereas mutations within the central core of the protein (between residues 86 and 342) were incapable of proper attachment to the thylakoid. Failure to properly associate with the thylakoid membrane in a protease resistant manner was only weakly correlated to loss of catalytic function. These studies are a first step towards defining structural determinants crucial to POR function and intraorganellar localization.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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