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Eur J Biochem. 1992 May 15;206(1):69-77.

Purification and characterization of the ferredoxin-glutamate synthase from the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 6301.

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Departamento de Bioquímica Vegetal y Biología Molecular, Universidad de Sevilla-CSIC, Spain.


Ferredoxin-glutamate synthase from the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 6301 has been purified using, as main steps, ethanol fractionation in the presence of high ionic strength, ion-exchange chromatography and ferredoxin-Sepharose affinity chromatography. The overall process yielded an homogeneous enzyme with a specific activity of 30 U/mg protein, after a purification of 2800-fold with a recovery of 43%. The molecular mass of the native protein was 156 kDa, as calculated from its Stokes radius (rS, 4.32 nm) and sedimentation coefficient (S20,w, 8.46 S). The size was also estimated by SDS/PAGE as 160 kDa, indicating that the native protein was a monomer. The enzyme exhibited absorption maxima at 279, 370 and 438 nm and a A279/A438 absorbance ratio of 11. One molecule of FMN, but not FAD, was found/molecule native protein. The addition of dithionite resulted in the loss of the absorption peak at 438 nm, which was restored by the addition of 2-oxoglutarate, thus indicating that the prosthetic group is functional in catalysis. Classical hyperbolic kinetics with substrate inhibition was seen for 2-oxoglutarate. The Km values determined for glutamine and ferredoxin were 0.7 mM and 7 microM, respectively, and the apparent Km for 2-oxoglutarate was estimated to be 1.7 mM. Azaserine and 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine were potent inhibitors of the activity, while pyridoxal 5-phosphate, known to react with Lys residues, partially inactivated the enzyme. This ferredoxin-dependent glutamate synthase is, as far as we know, the first purified from prokaryotic organisms and resembles its counterpart from chloroplasts, suggesting that cyanobacterial glutamate synthase may have been the ancestor of ferredoxin-glutamate synthase in plants.

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