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Photosynth Res. 2014 Feb;119(1-2):223-32. doi: 10.1007/s11120-013-9797-2. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Making proteins green; biosynthesis of chlorophyll-binding proteins in cyanobacteria.

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Institute of Microbiology CAS, Opatovický mlyn, Třeboň, Czech Republic,


Chlorophyll (Chl) is an essential component of the photosynthetic apparatus. Embedded into Chl-binding proteins, Chl molecules play a central role in light harvesting and charge separation within the photosystems. It is critical for the photosynthetic cell to not only ensure the synthesis of a sufficient amount of new Chl-binding proteins but also avoids any misbalance between apoprotein synthesis and the formation of potentially phototoxic Chl molecules. According to the available data, Chl-binding proteins are translated on membrane bound ribosomes and their integration into the membrane is provided by the SecYEG/Alb3 translocon machinery. It appears that the insertion of Chl molecules into growing polypeptide is a prerequisite for the correct folding and finishing of Chl-binding protein synthesis. Although the Chl biosynthetic pathway is fairly well-described on the level of enzymatic steps, a link between Chl biosynthesis and the synthesis of apoproteins remains elusive. In this review, I summarize the current knowledge about this issue putting emphasis on protein-protein interactions. I present a model of the Chl biosynthetic pathway organized into a multi-enzymatic complex and physically attached to the SecYEG/Alb3 translocon. Localization of this hypothetical large biosynthetic centre in the cyanobacterial cell is also discussed as well as regulatory mechanisms coordinating the rate of Chl and apoprotein synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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