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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(5):998-1007. Epub 2013 May 7.

Potential involvement of N-terminal acetylation in the quantitative regulation of the ε subunit of chloroplast ATP synthase under drought stress.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Ikoma, Nara, Japan.


In plants, modulation of photosynthetic energy conversion in varying environments is often accompanied by adjustment of the abundance of photosynthetic components. In wild watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.), proteome analysis revealed that the ε subunit of chloroplast ATP synthase occurs as two distinct isoforms with largely-different isoelectric points, although encoded by a single gene. Mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of the ε isoforms indicated that the structural difference between the ε isoforms lies in the presence or absence of an acetyl group at the N-terminus. The protein level of the non-acetylated ε isoform preferentially decreased in drought, whereas the abundance of the acetylated ε isoform was unchanged. Moreover, metalloprotease activity that decomposed the ε subunit was detected in a leaf extract from drought-stressed plants. Furthermore, in vitro assay suggested that the non-acetylated ε subunit was more susceptible to degradation by metalloaminopeptidase. We propose a model in which quantitative regulation of the ε subunit involves N-terminal acetylation and stress-induced proteases.

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