Hydrolysis of Ribulose-1,5-Bisphosphate Carboxylase by Partially Purified Endoproteinases of Senescing Primary Barley Leaves

  • B. L. Miller
  • R. C. Huffaker


Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPCase) is the protein responsible for fixation of CO2 in photosynthetic organisms. In many higher plants RuBPCase also appears to serve as a storage protein that is hydrolyzed during leaf senescence (Huffaker et al., 1978). This provides a source of reduced N that can be transported to newly developing leaves or fruits (Dalling et al., 1976). RuBPCase is a large protein (MW ∿ 550 kD) consisting of 8 large subunits (50–57 kD) and 8 small subunits (13–15 kD). The large subunit is coded on chloroplast DNA and is synthesized within the chloroplast (Blair et al., 1973; Chan et al., 1972; Criddle et al., 1970; Kung, 1976). The small subunit is coded on nuclear DNA (Kung, 1976), synthesized as a precursor protein in the cytoplasm (Criddle et al., 1970; Highfield et al., 1978), and then processed at or in the chloroplast. The native protein is assembled in the chloroplast and the active enzyme is localized in the stroma. The synthesis of RuBPCase occurs predominantly during the greening of etiolated leaf tissue (Kleinkopf et al., 1970; Smith et al., 1974) or leaf expansion (Friedrich and Huffaker, 1980). The cellular concentration of RuBPCase (which can constitute 50–70% of the total soluble leaf protein) then remains nearly constant for several days; little or no apparent turnover takes place (Huffaker, 1979; Peterson et al., 1973). During senescence, protein is rapidly degraded, and RuBPCase is the predominant protein lost during the initial stages (Friedrich and Huffaker, 1980; Peterson and Huffaker, 1975). A1- though there is much data concerned with the synthesis of RuBPCase, information about the control of its degradation and turnover is lacking. Exo—and endoproteinases in green and senescing leaf tissue have been described (Dalling et al., 1976; Huffaker and Miller, 1978; Martin and Thimann, 1972; Peterson and Huffaker, 1975; Sopanen and Lauriere, 1976; Thomas, 1978; Wittenbach, 1978) but very little is known about their role in senescence or in normal cellular protein turnover.


Large Subunit Small Subunit DEAE Cellulose Ribulose Bisphosphate Bisphosphate Carboxylase 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. Miller
    • 1
  • R. C. Huffaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Growth Laboratory and the Department of Agronomy and Range ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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