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Planta. 2002 Jul;215(3):448-56. Epub 2002 Apr 12.

The non-photosynthetic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylases of the C4 dicot Flaveria trinervia -- implications for the evolution of C4 photosynthesis.

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Institut für Entwicklungs- und Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.


C4 phospho enolpyruvate carboxylases (PEPCase; EC have evolved from ancestral non-photosynthetic (C3) isoforms during the evolution of angiosperms and thereby gained distinct kinetic and regulatory properties. In order to obtain insight into this evolutionary process we have studied the C3 isoforms, ppcB and ppcC, of the C4 dicot Flaveria trinervia (Spreng.) C. Mohr and compared them with the C4 enzyme of this species, ppcA, and its orthologue in the C3 species F. pringlei Gandoger. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the ppcB PEPCase is the closest relative of the ppcA enzyme. In addition, the presence of ppcB also in the closely related C3 species F. pringlei suggests that this gene was present already in the ancestral C3 species and consequently that ppcA has evolved by gene duplication of ppcB. Investigation of the enzymatic properties of the ppcB and ppcC enzymes showed low and similar K(0.5)-PEP values and limited activation by glucose-6-phosphate, typical of non-photosynthetic PEPCases, at pH 8.0. However, at the more physiological pH of 7.6, the ppcC enzyme displayed a substantially higher K(0.5)-PEP than the ppcB counterpart, indicating their involvement in different metabolic pathways. This indication was strengthened by malate inhibition studies in which the ppcC enzyme showed 10 times higher tolerance to the inhibitor. The ppcA enzyme was, however, by far the most tolerant enzyme towards malate. Interestingly, the increased malate tolerance was correlated with a decrease in enzyme efficiency displayed by the turnover constant k(cat). We therefore suggest that the increased malate tolerance, which is imperative for an efficient C4 cycle, is connected with a decreased enzyme efficiency that in turn is compensated by increased enzyme expression.

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