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J Bacteriol. 2003 Mar;185(5):1509-17.

Dual role of cysteine 172 in redox regulation of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activity and degradation.

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Department of Plant Sciences, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.


Alkylation and oxidation of cysteine residues significantly decrease the catalytic activity and stimulate the degradation of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO). We analyzed the role of vicinal cysteine residues in redox regulation of RuBisCO from Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803. Cys172 and Cys192, which are adjacent to the catalytic site, and Cys247, which cross-links two large subunits, were replaced by alanine. Whereas all mutant cells (C172A, C192A, C172A-C192A, and C247A) and the wild type grew photoautotrophically at similar rates, the maximal photosynthesis rates of C172A mutants decreased 10 to 20% as a result of 40 to 60% declines in RuBisCO turnover number. Replacement of Cys172, but not replacement of Cys192, prominently decreased the effect of cysteine alkylation or oxidation on RuBisCO. Oxidants that react with vicinal thiols had a less inhibitory effect on the activity of either the C172A or C192A enzyme variants, suggesting that a disulfide bond was formed upon oxidation. Thiol oxidation induced RuBisCO dissociation into subunits. This effect was either reduced in the C172A and C192A mutant enzymes or eliminated by carboxypentitol bisphosphate (CPBP) binding to the activated enzyme form. The CPBP effect presumably resulted from a conformational change in the carbamylated CPBP-bound enzyme, as implied from an alteration in the electrophoretic mobility. Stress conditions, provoked by nitrate deprivation, decreased the RuBisCO contents and activities in the wild type and in the C192A and C247A mutants but not in the C172A and C172A-C192A mutants. These results suggest that although Cys172 does not participate in catalysis, it plays a role in redox regulation of RuBisCO activity and degradation.

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