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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 15;103(33):12631-6. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

A redox-active FKBP-type immunophilin functions in accumulation of the photosystem II supercomplex in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Photosystem II (PSII) catalyzes the first of two photosynthetic reactions that convert sunlight into chemical energy. Native PSII is a supercomplex consisting of core and light-harvesting chlorophyll proteins. Although the structure of PSII has been resolved by x-ray crystallography, the mechanism underlying its assembly is poorly understood. Here, we report that an immunophilin of the chloroplast thylakoid lumen is required for accumulation of the PSII supercomplex in Arabidopsis thaliana. The immunophilin, FKBP20-2, belongs to the FK-506 binding protein (FKBP) subfamily that functions as peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases) in protein folding. FKBP20-2 has a unique pair of cysteines at the C terminus and was found to be reduced by thioredoxin (Trx) (itself reduced by NADPH by means of NADP-Trx reductase). The FKBP20-2 protein, which contains only two of the five amino acids required for catalysis, showed a low level of PPIase activity that was unaffected on reduction by Trx. Genetic disruption of the FKBP20-2 gene resulted in reduced plant growth, consistent with the observed lower rate of PSII activity determined by fluorescence (using leaves) and oxygen evolution (using isolated chloroplasts). Analysis of isolated thylakoid membranes with blue native gels and immunoblots showed that accumulation of the PSII supercomplex was compromised in mutant plants, whereas the levels of monomer and dimer building blocks were elevated compared with WT. The results provide evidence that FKBP20-2 participates specifically in the accumulation of the PSII supercomplex in the chloroplast thylakoid lumen by means of a mechanism that has yet to be determined.

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