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BMC Plant Biol. 2010 Sep 14;10:200. doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-10-200.

Characterization of bacterial-type phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase expressed in male gametophyte of higher plants.

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The Plant Science Education Unit, The Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma, Nara 630-0101, Japan.



Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) is a critical enzyme catalyzing the β-carboxylation of phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to oxaloacetate, a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediate. PEPC typically exists as a Class-1 PEPC homotetramer composed of plant-type PEPC (PTPC) polypeptides, and two of the subunits were reported to be monoubiquitinated in germinating castor oil seeds. By the large-scale purification of ubiquitin (Ub)-related proteins from lily anther, two types of PEPCs, bacterial-type PEPC (BTPC) and plant-type PEPC (PTPC), were identified in our study as candidate Ub-related proteins. Until now, there has been no information about the properties of the PEPCs expressed in male reproductive tissues of higher plants.


Expression analyses showed that lily BTPC (LlBTPC) and Arabidopsis BTPC (AtBTPC) were significantly expressed in pollen. The fusion protein AtBTPC-Venus localized in the cytoplasm of the vegetative cell (VC). Both LlBTPC and AtBTPC expression initiated after the last mitosis before pollen germination. Lily PTPC (LlPTPC) and monoubiquitinated LlPTPC (Ub-LlPTPC) remained at constant levels during pollen development. In late bicellular pollen of lily, LlBTPC forms a hetero-octameric Class-2 PEPC complex with LlPTPC to express PEPC activity.


Our results suggest that an LlBTPC:Ub-LlPTPC:LlPTPC complex is formed in the VC cytoplasm during late pollen development. Both LlBTPC and AtBTPC expression patterns are similar to the patterns of the appearance of storage organelles during pollen development in lily and Arabidopsis, respectively. Therefore, BTPC is thought to accelerate the metabolic flow for the synthesis of storage substances during pollen maturation. Our study provides the first characterization of BTPC in pollen, the male gametophyte of higher plants.

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