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Genes Cells. 2008 Apr;13(4):387-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2008.01174.x.

ATPase activity and its temperature compensation of the cyanobacterial clock protein KaiC.

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1
Center for Gene Research, Nagoya University, Furocho, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.

Abstract

KaiA, KaiB and KaiC constitute the circadian clock machinery in cyanobacteria. KaiC is a homohexamer; its subunit contains duplicated halves, each with a set of ATPase motifs. Here, using highly purified KaiC preparations of the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP-1 produced in Escherichia coli, we found that the N- and C-terminal domains of KaiC had extremely weak ATPase activity. ATPase activity showed temperature compensation in wild-type KaiC, but not in KaiC(S431A/T432A), a mutant that lacks two phosphorylation sites. We concluded that KaiC phosphorylation is involved in the ATPase temperature-compensation mechanism-which is probably critical to the stability of the circadian clock in cyanobacteria-and we hypothesized the following temperature-compensation mechanism: (i) The C-terminal phosphorylation sites of a KaiC hexamer subunit are phosphorylated by the C-terminal domain of an adjacent KaiC subunit; (ii) the phosphorylation suppresses the ATPase activity of the C-terminal domain; and (iii) the phosphorylated KaiC spontaneously dephosphorylates, resulting in the recover of ATPase activity.

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