Regular Paper

Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 183-194

First online:

Comparative sequence analysis of CP12, a small protein involved in the formation of a Calvin cycle complex in photosynthetic organisms

  • René GrobenAffiliated withCentre for Hydrology and Ecology, Lancaster Environment Centre
  • , Dimitrios KaloudasAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Essex
  • , Christine A. RainesAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Essex
  • , Bernard OffmannAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biochimie et Génétique Moléculaire, Université de La Réunion
  • , Stephen C. MaberlyAffiliated withCentre for Hydrology and Ecology, Lancaster Environment Centre
  • , Brigitte GonteroAffiliated withLaboratoire d’Enzymologie de Complexes Supramoléculaires, UPR 90 36-IFR 88- Aix Marseille Universités, BIP-CNRS Email author 

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CP12, a small intrinsically unstructured protein, plays an important role in the regulation of the Calvin cycle by forming a complex with phosphoribulokinase (PRK) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). An extensive search in databases revealed 129 protein sequences from, higher plants, mosses and liverworts, different groups of eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria. CP12 was identified throughout the Plantae, apart from in the Prasinophyceae. Within the Chromalveolata, two putative CP12 proteins have been found in the genomes of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana and the haptophyte Emiliania huxleyi, but specific searches in further chromalveolate genomes or EST datasets did not reveal any CP12 sequences in other Prymnesiophyceae, Dinophyceae or Pelagophyceae. A species from the Euglenophyceae within the Excavata also appeared to lack CP12. Phylogenetic analysis showed a clear separation into a number of higher taxonomic clades and among different forms of CP12 in higher plants. Cyanobacteria, Chlorophyceae, Rhodophyta and Glaucophyceae, Bryophyta, and the CP12-3 forms in higher plants all form separate clades. The degree of disorder of CP12 was higher in higher plants than in the eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria apart from the green algal class Mesostigmatophyceae, which is ancestral to the streptophytes. This suggests that CP12 has evolved to become more flexible and possibly take on more general roles. Different features of the CP12 sequences in the different taxonomic groups and their potential functions and interactions in the Calvin cycle are discussed.


Calvin cycle CP12 Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase Intrinsically unstructured protein Phosphoribulokinase