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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Mar;69(3):592-601.

Functional analysis of two solanesyl diphosphate synthases from Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Suita, Yamadaoka, Japan.


Solanesyl diphosphate (SPP) is regarded as the precursor of the side-chains of both plastoquinone and ubiquinone in Arabidopsis thaliana. We previously analyzed A. thaliana SPP synthase (At-SPS1) (Hirooka et al., Biochem. J., 370, 679-686 (2003)). In this study, we cloned a second SPP synthase (At-SPS2) gene from A. thaliana and characterized the recombinant protein. Kinetic analysis indicated that At-SPS2 prefers geranylgeranyl diphosphate to farnesyl diphosphate as the allylic substrate. Several of its features, including the substrate preference, were similar to those of At-SPS1. These data indicate that At-SPS1 and At-SPS2 share their basic catalytic machinery. Moreover, analysis of the subcellular localization by the transient expression of green fluorescent protein-fusion proteins showed that At-SPS2 is transported into chloroplasts, whereas At-SPS1 is likely to be localized in the endoplasmic reticulum in the A. thaliana cells. It is known that the ubiquinone side-chain originates from isopentenyl diphosphate derived from the cytosolic mevalonate pathway, while the plastoquinone side-chain is synthesized from isopentenyl diphosphate derived from the plastidial methylerythritol phosphate pathway. Based on this information, we propose that At-SPS1 contributes to the biosynthesis of the ubiquinone side-chain and that At-SPS2 supplies the precursor of the plastoquinone side-chain in A. thaliana.

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