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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2003 Aug;2(8):550-9. Epub 2003 Jul 26.

Identification of three previously unknown in vivo protein phosphorylation sites in thylakoid membranes of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Division of Cell Biology, Link√∂ping University, SE-581 85 Link√∂ping, Sweden.


The proteins in plant photosynthetic thylakoid membranes undergo light-induced phosphorylation, but only a few phosphoproteins have been characterized. To access the unknown sites of in vivo protein phosphorylation the thylakoid membranes were isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana grown in normal light, and the surface-exposed peptides were cleaved from the membranes by trypsin. The peptides were methylated and subjected to immobilized metal affinity chromatography, and the enriched phosphopeptides were sequenced using tandem nanospray quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Three new phosphopeptides were revealed in addition to the five known phosphorylation sites in photosystem II proteins. All phosphopeptides are found phosphorylated at threonine residues implementing a strict threonine specificity of the thylakoid kinases. For the first time protein phosphorylation is found in photosystem I. The phosphorylation site is localized to the first threonine in the N terminus of PsaD protein that assists in the electron transfer from photosystem I to ferredoxin. A new phosphorylation site is also revealed in the acetylated N terminus of the minor chlorophyll a-binding protein CP29. The third novel phosphopeptide, composed of 25 amino acids, belongs to a nuclear encoded protein annotated as "expressed protein" in the Arabidopsis database. The protein precursor has a chloroplast-targeting peptide followed by the mature protein with two transmembrane helices and a molecular mass of 14 kDa. This previously uncharacterized protein is named thylakoid membrane phosphoprotein of 14 kDa (TMP14). The finding of the novel phosphoproteins extends involvement of the redox-regulated protein phosphorylation in photosynthetic membranes beyond the photosystem II and its light-harvesting antennae.

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