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Plant Physiol. 1996 Jun;111(2):497-505.

Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxylase Kinase in Tobacco Leaves Is Activated by Light in a Similar but Not Identical Way as in Maize.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, G. W. Beadle Center, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0664.


We have previously reported the partial purification of a Ca2+- independent phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) protein-serine/threonine kinase (PEPC-PK) from illuminated leaves of N-sufficient tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plants (Y.-H. Wang, R. Chollet [1993] FEBS Lett 328: 215-218). We now report that this C3 PEPC-kinase is reversibly light activated in vivo in a time-dependent manner. As the kinase becomes light activated, the activity and L-malate sensitivity of its target protein increases and decreases, respectively. The light activation of tobacco PEPC-PK is prevented by pretreatment of detached leaves with various photosynthesis and cytosolic protein-synthesis inhibitors. Similarly, specific inhibitors of glutamine synthetase block the light activation of tobacco leaf PEPC-kinase under both photorespiratory and nonphotorespiratory conditions. This striking effect is partially and specifically reversed by exogenous glutamine, whereas it has no apparent effect on the light activation of the maize (Zea mays L.) leaf kinase. Using an in situ "activity-gel" phosphorylation assay, we have identified two major Ca2+-independent PEPC-kinase catalytic polypeptides in illuminated tobacco leaves that have the same molecular masses (approximately 30 and 37 kD) as found in illuminated maize leaves. Collectively, these results indicate that the phosphorylation of PEPC in N-sufficient leaves of tobacco (C3) and maize (C4) is regulated through similar but not identical light-signal transduction pathways.

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