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Plant J. 2004 Dec;40(6):957-67.

Concurrent interactions of heme and FLU with Glu tRNA reductase (HEMA1), the target of metabolic feedback inhibition of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, in dark- and light-grown Arabidopsis plants.

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Institute of Plant Sciences, Plant Genetics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Universitästr. 2, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


The regulation of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis in higher plants has been attributed to metabolic feedback inhibition of Glu tRNA reductase by heme. Recently, another negative regulator of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis has been discovered, the FLU protein. During an extensive second site screen of mutagenized flu seedlings a suppressor of flu, ulf3, was identified that is allelic to hy1 and encodes a heme oxygenase. Increased levels of heme in the hy1 mutant have been implicated with inhibiting Glu tRNA reductase and suppressing the synthesis of delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and Pchlide accumulation. When combined with hy1 or ulf3 upregulation of ALA synthesis and overaccumulation of protochlorophyllide in the flu mutants were severely suppressed supporting the notion that heme antagonizes the effect of the flu mutation by inhibiting Glu tRNA reductase independently of FLU. The coiled-coil domain at the C-terminal end of Glu tRNA reductase interacts with FLU, whereas the N-terminal site of Glu tRNA reductase that is necessary for the inhibition of the enzyme by heme is not required for this interaction. The interaction with FLU is specific for the Glu tRNA reductase encoded by HEMA1 that is expressed in photosynthetically active tissues. FLU seems to be part of a second regulatory circuit that controls chlorophyll biosynthesis by interacting directly with Glu tRNA reductase not only in etiolated seedlings but also in light-adapted green plants.

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