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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1991 Apr;286(1):6-13.

Purification and characterization of large and small subunits of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase expressed separately in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721.


Procedures were developed for 95 and 80% purification to homogeneity of the large subunit (L) and small subunit (S) of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (L8S8) from Synechococcus PCC 6301, each expressed separately in Escherichia coli. Purified L had a low specific activity in the absence of S (0.075 mumol CO2 fixed/mg holoenzyme/min). Following elution on a Pharmacia Superose 6 or 12 gel filtration column, 50% of the purified L appeared as the octamer, L8. The rest was in equilibrium with lower polymeric species and/or was retained on the column. Large and small subunits assembled rapidly into the L8S8 holoenzyme that had high specific activities, 6.2 and 3.1 mumol CO2 fixed/mg holoenzyme/min for the homologous Synechococcus L8S8 and the hybrid Synechococcus L-pea S L8S8, respectively. The CO2 dependence for carbamylation of L8 was compared to that of L8S8 as a function of pH and CO2 concentration. The pH dependence indicated an apparent pKa for L8 of 8.28 and for L8S8 of 8.15, suggesting that S may influence the pKa of the lysine involved in carbamylation. The Kact for CO2 at pH 8.4 were similar for L8 (13.5 microM) and L8S8 (15.5 microM). L8 bound 2-[14C]carboxy-D-arabinitol 1,5-bisphosphate (CABP) tightly so that most of the bound [14C]CABP survived gel filtration. A major amount of the L8-[14C]CABP complex appeared as larger polymeric aggregates when eluted in the presence of E. coli protein.

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