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Plant Physiol. 2013 May;162(1):157-79. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.215699. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Modified Clp protease complex in the ClpP3 null mutant and consequences for chloroplast development and function in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


The plastid ClpPRT protease consists of two heptameric rings of ClpP1/ClpR1/ClpR2/ClpR3/ClpR4 (the R-ring) and ClpP3/ClpP4/ClpP5/ClpP6 (the P-ring) and peripherally associated ClpT1/ClpT2 subunits. Here, we address the contributions of ClpP3 and ClpP4 to ClpPRT core organization and function in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). ClpP4 is strictly required for embryogenesis, similar to ClpP5. In contrast, loss of ClpP3 (clpp3-1) leads to arrest at the hypocotyl stage; this developmental arrest can be removed by supplementation with sucrose or glucose. Heterotrophically grown clpp3-1 can be transferred to soil and generate viable seed, which is surprising, since we previously showed that CLPR2 and CLPR4 null alleles are always sterile and die on soil. Based on native gels and mass spectrometry-based quantification, we show that despite the loss of ClpP3, modified ClpPR core(s) could be formed, albeit at strongly reduced levels. A large portion of ClpPR subunits accumulated in heptameric rings, with overaccumulation of ClpP1/ClpP5/ClpP6 and ClpR3. Remarkably, the association of ClpT1 to the modified Clp core was unchanged. Large-scale quantitative proteomics assays of clpp3-1 showed a 50% loss of photosynthetic capacity and the up-regulation of plastoglobules and all chloroplast stromal chaperone systems. Specific chloroplast proteases were significantly up-regulated, whereas the major thylakoid protease (FtsH1/FtsH2/FtsH5/FtsH8) was clearly unchanged, indicating a controlled protease network response. clpp3-1 showed a systematic decrease of chloroplast-encoded proteins that are part of the photosynthetic apparatus but not of chloroplast-encoded proteins with other functions. Candidate substrates and an explanation for the differential phenotypes between the CLPP3, CLPP4, and CLPP5 null mutants are discussed.

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