Molecular evolution of C4 phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase in the genus Flaveria—a gradual increase from C3 to C4 characteristics
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- Engelmann, S., Bläsing, O.E., Gowik, U. et al. Planta (2003) 217: 717. doi:10.1007/s00425-003-1045-0
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In order to elucidate the discrete steps in phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) evolution concerning Km-PEP and malate tolerance a comparison was made between C3, C3–C4 and C4 species of the dicot genus Flaveria. The PEPCs of this genus are encoded by a gene family comprising three classes: ppcA, ppcB and ppcC [J. Hermans and P. Westhoff (1990) Mol Gen Genet 224:459–468, (1992) Mol Gen Genet 234:275–284]. The ppcA of F trinervia (C4) codes for the C4 PEPC isoform but other plants of the genus contain ppcA orthologues too. The C3 plant F. pringlei showed the lowest levels of ppcA PEPC mRNA followed by F. pubescens (C3–C4) while the C4-like plant F. brownii displayed RNA amounts close to the C4 species F. trinervia. In contrast to the similar expression profiles of F. brownii (C4-like) and F. trinervia (C4) the PEPC amino acid sequence of F. brownii was more similar to the C3 and C3–C4 ppcA PEPCs than to the C4 PEPC. Similarly, the C3, C3–C4 and C4-like ppcA PEPCs showed almost identical PEP saturation kinetics when activated by glucose-6-phosphate (Km-PEP: 17–20 μM) while the Km-PEP for the C4 PEPC was determined to be 53 μM. However, without activation the ppcA PEPCs of F. pubescens and F. brownii displayed C3–C4 intermediate values. A similar picture was obtained when the malate sensitivities were compared. In the non-activated state the F. trinervia (C4) enzyme was 10 times more tolerant to malate than the F. pringlei counterpart. The ppcA enzymes of F. pubescens (C3–C4) and F. brownii (C4-like) displayed intermediate values. In contrast, the inclusion of 5 mM glucose-6-phosphate in the reaction mixture changed the order totally. Interestingly, the activation rendered the C4 enzyme about 50% less tolerant to malate than the C3 PEPC. The activation had a positive effect on malate tolerance of the F. pubescens (C3–C4) PEPC while the ppcA PEPC of F. brownii (C4-like) was almost unaffected.
KeywordsC4 photosynthesisEvolutionFlaveriaPhosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase