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Phytochemistry. 1992 Jun;31(6):1845-57.

NADP-malic enzyme from plants.

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Department of Botany, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-4238.


NADP-malic enzyme functions in plant metabolism as a decarboxylase of malate in the chloroplast or cytosol. It serves as a source of CO2 for photosynthesis in the bundle sheath chloroplasts of C4 plants and in the cytosol of Crassulacean acid metabolism plants, and as a source of NADPH and pyruvate in the cytosol of various tissues. Mg2+ or Mn2+ is required as a cofactor. The enzyme has a high specificity and low Km for NADP+. It exists as a tetramer which may undergo changes in oligomerization and exhibit hysteresis. Its kinetic properties vary depending on the compartmentation and function of the enzyme. The chloroplast form in C4 plants has a high pH optimum (pH 8) under high malate, which favours the tetramer, whereas lower pH (pH 7) favours the dimer form. Generally, other forms of the enzyme, which are thought to be cytosolic, have lower pH optima than the chloroplast enzyme. In a number of cases these forms have been shown to have allosteric properties with malate as a substrate. Chemical modifications of the plant enzyme suggest sulphydryl, histidine and arginine residues are required for catalysis. Primary sequence studies on the chloroplastic enzyme from C4 plants show significant similarities to cytosolic NADP-ME in plants and animals, including a sequence motif which is indicative of the NADP+ binding site. The possible origin of the chloroplast form of the enzyme is discussed.

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