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J Bacteriol. 1997 Jul;179(14):4513-22.

Functional complementation of an Escherichia coli gap mutant supports an amphibolic role for NAD(P)-dependent glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803.

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  • 1Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Centro de Investigación Isla de la Cartuja, Universidad de Sevilla-CSIC, Seville, Spain.


The gap-2 gene, encoding the NAD(P)-dependent D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH2) of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, was cloned by functional complementation of an Escherichia coli gap mutant with a genomic DNA library; this is the first time that this cloning strategy has been used for a GAPDH involved in photosynthetic carbon assimilation. The Synechocystis DNA region able to complement the E. coli gap mutant was narrowed down to 3 kb and fully sequenced. A single complete open reading frame of 1,011 bp encoding a protein of 337 amino acids was found and identified as the putative gap-2 gene identified in the complete genome sequence of this organism. Determination of the transcriptional start point, identification of putative promoter and terminator sites, and orientation of the truncated flanking genes suggested the gap-2 transcript should be monocystronic, a possibility further confirmed by Northern blot studies. Both natural and recombinant homotetrameric GAPDH2s were purified and found to exhibit virtually identical physicochemical and kinetic properties. The recombinant GAPDH2 showed the dual pyridine nucleotide specificity characteristic of the native cyanobacterial enzyme, and similar ratios of NAD- to NADP-dependent activities were found in cell extracts from Synechocystis as well as in those from the complemented E. coli clones. The deduced amino acid sequence of Synechocystis GAPDH2 presented a high degree of identity with sequences of the chloroplastic NADP-dependent enzymes. In agreement with this result, immunoblot analysis using monospecific antibodies raised against GAPDH2 showed the presence of the 38-kDa GAPDH subunit not only in crude extracts from the gap-2-expressing E. coli clones and all cyanobacteria that were tested but also in those from eukaryotic microalgae and plants. Western and Northern blot experiments showed that gap-2 is conspicuously expressed, although at different levels, in Synechocystis cells grown in different metabolic regimens, even under chemoheterotrophic conditions. A possible amphibolic role of the cyanobacterial GAPDH2, namely, anabolic for photosynthetic carbon assimilation and catabolic for carbohydrate degradative pathways, is discussed.

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