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Multiple evidence for nucleotide metabolism in the chloroplast thylakoid lumen
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Cell Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Cell Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
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2004 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, ISSN 0027-8424, Vol. 101, no 5, 1409-1414 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The apparatus of photosynthetic energy conversion in chloroplasts is quite well characterized with respect to structure and function. Light-driven electron transport in the thylakoid membrane is coupled to synthesis of ATP, used to drive energy-dependent metabolic processes in the stroma and the outer surface of the thylakoid membrane. The role of the inner (luminal) compartment of the thylakoids has, however, remained largely unknown although recent proteomic analyses have revealed the presence of up to 80 different proteins. Further, there are no reports concerning the presence of nucleotides in the thylakoid lumen. Here, we bring three lines of experimental evidence for nucleotide-dependent processes in this chloroplast compartment. (i) The thylakoid lumen contains a protein of 17.2 kDa, catalyzing the transfer of the γ-phosphate group from ATP to GDP, proposed to correspond to the nucleoside diphosphate kinase III. (ii) The 33-kDa subunit of photosystem II, bound to the luminal side of the thylakoid membrane and associated with the water-splitting process, can bind GTP. (iii) The thylakoid membrane contains a nucleotide transport system that is suggested to be associated with a 36.5-kDa nucleotide-binding protein. Our results imply, against current dogmas, that the thylakoid lumen contains nucleotides, thereby providing unexpected aspects on this chloroplast compartment from a metabolic and regulatory perspective and expanding its functional significance beyond a pure bioenergetic function.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 101, no 5, 1409-1414 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13003DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0308164100OAI: diva2:17652
Available from: 2008-03-20 Created: 2008-03-20 Last updated: 2010-01-26
In thesis
1. Nucleotide-Dependent Processes in the Thylakoid Lumen of Plant Chloroplasts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Nucleotide-Dependent Processes in the Thylakoid Lumen of Plant Chloroplasts
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria are able to harvest the sunlight and use its energy to transform water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrate molecules and oxygen, both important to sustain life on Earth. This process is called photosynthesis and is the route by which almost all energy enters the biosphere. As most simple things in life, the process of photosynthesis is easily explained but unfortunately not that easy to reproduce. If we could, we would be living in a much different world with almost unlimited energy. Light energy is harvested by chlorophyll molecules, bound to proteins in the chloroplast thylakoid membrane and drives the oxygen-evolving complex, to extract electrons from water. Electrons are then transferred to NADPH through photosystem II (PSII) to cytochrome b6f and photosystem I, the major photosynthetic protein complexes. The cytochrome b6f complex also transfers protons into the lumenal space of the thylakoid. These protons together with those from water oxidation create an electrochemical gradient across the thylakoid membrane, which fuels the ATP synthase to produce ATP. ATP, NADPH and carbon dioxide are used during the dark reactions to produce sugars in the chloroplast stroma. The thylakoid lumenal space where the water oxidation occurs has until recently been viewed as a proton sink with very few proteins. With the publication of the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana it seems to be a much more complex compartment housing a wide variety of biochemical processes.

ATP is a nucleotide and the major energy currency, but there are also other nucleotides such as AMP, ADP, GMP, GDP and GTP. Chloroplast metabolism has mostly been associated with ATP, but GTP has been shown to have a role in integration of light harversting complexes into the thylakoid. In this work, we have demonstrated the occurrence of nucleotide-dependent processes in the lumenal space of spinach by bringing evidence first for nucleotide (ATP) transport across the thylakoid membrane, second for nucleotide inter-conversion (ATP to GTP) by a nucleoside diphosphate kinase, and third the discovery that the PsbO extrinsic subunit of PSII complex can bind and hydrolyse GTP to GDP. The active PSII complex functions as a dimer but following light-induced damage, it is monomerised allowing for repair of its reaction center D1 protein. PsbO is ubiquitous in all oxygenic photosynthetic organisms and together with other extrinsic proteins stabilises the oxygen-evolving complex. We have modelled the GTP-binding site in the PsbO structure and showed that the GTPase activity of spinach PsbO induces changes in the protein structure, dissociation from the complex and stimulates the degradation of the D1 protein, possibly by inducing momerisation of damaged PSII complexes. As compared to spinach, Arabidopsis has two isoforms of PsbO, PsbO1 and PsbO2, expressed in a 4:1 ratio. A T-DNA insertion knockout mutant of PsbO1 showed a retarded growth rate, pale green leaves and a decrease in the oxygen evolution while a PsbO2 knockout mutant did not show any visual phenotype as compared to wild type. Unexpectedly, during growth under high light conditions the turnover rate of the D1 protein was impaired in the PsbO2 knockout, whereas it occurred faster in the PsbO1 knockout as compared to wild type. We concluded that the PsbO1 protein mainly functions in stabilizing the oxygen evolving complex, whereas the PsbO2 protein regulates the turnover of the D1 protein. The two PsbO proteins also differ in their GTPase-activity (PsbO2 >> PsbO1). Although their amino acid sequences are 90% identical, they differ in the GTP-binding region which could explain the difference in their GTPase activity. Based on these data, we propose that the GTPase activity of PsbO(2) leads to structural changes in interacting loops and plays a role in the initial steps of D1 turnover such as the PSII monomerisation step.

The nucleotide-dependent processes we discovered in the thylakoid lumen raise questions of transporters to facilitate these processes. As stated earlier, we provided biochemical evidence of an ATP thylakoid transporter, and most recently have identified a transporter that may be important for the export of lumenal phosphate back to the stroma. More transporters for GDP, metal ions and others solutes have still to be identified.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi, 2008
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1165
plant, chloroplast, thylakoid, nucleotide, PSII, PsbO
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11244 (URN)978-91-7393-965-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-04-04, Linden, Hus 421, Ingång 65; HU, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:30 (English)
Available from: 2008-03-20 Created: 2008-03-20 Last updated: 2009-05-07

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