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Mol Plant. 2016 Apr 4;9(4):569-81. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2016.01.003. Epub 2016 Jan 16.

Molecular Evolution of the Substrate Specificity of Chloroplastic Aldolases/Rubisco Lysine Methyltransferases in Plants.

Author information

1
Université Grenoble Alpes, Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire & Végétale, 38041 Grenoble, France; CNRS, UMR5168, 38054 Grenoble, France; CEA, iRTSV, Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire & Végétale, 38054 Grenoble, France; INRA, USC1359, 38054 Grenoble, France.
2
Université Grenoble Alpes, 38041 Grenoble, France; CEA, iRTSV, Biologie à Grande Echelle, 38054 Grenoble, France; INSERM, U1038, 38054 Grenoble, France.
3
Université Grenoble Alpes, Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire & Végétale, 38041 Grenoble, France; CNRS, UMR5168, 38054 Grenoble, France; CEA, iRTSV, Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire & Végétale, 38054 Grenoble, France; INRA, USC1359, 38054 Grenoble, France. Electronic address: claude.alban@cea.fr.

Abstract

Rubisco and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolases (FBAs) are involved in CO2 fixation in chloroplasts. Both enzymes are trimethylated at a specific lysine residue by the chloroplastic protein methyltransferase LSMT. Genes coding LSMT are present in all plant genomes but the methylation status of the substrates varies in a species-specific manner. For example, chloroplastic FBAs are naturally trimethylated in both Pisum sativum and Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas the Rubisco large subunit is trimethylated only in the former species. The in vivo methylation status of aldolases and Rubisco matches the catalytic properties of AtLSMT and PsLSMT, which are able to trimethylate FBAs or FBAs and Rubisco, respectively. Here, we created chimera and site-directed mutants of monofunctional AtLSMT and bifunctional PsLSMT to identify the molecular determinants responsible for substrate specificity. Our results indicate that the His-Ala/Pro-Trp triad located in the central part of LSMT enzymes is the key motif to confer the capacity to trimethylate Rubisco. Two of the critical residues are located on a surface loop outside the methyltransferase catalytic site. We observed a strict correlation between the presence of the triad motif and the in vivo methylation status of Rubisco. The distribution of the motif into a phylogenetic tree further suggests that the ancestral function of LSMT was FBA trimethylation. In a recent event during higher plant evolution, this function evolved in ancestors of Fabaceae, Cucurbitaceae, and Rosaceae to include Rubisco as an additional substrate to the archetypal enzyme. Our study provides insight into mechanisms by which SET-domain protein methyltransferases evolve new substrate specificity.

KEYWORDS:

SET-domain protein methyltransferase; chimeric enzyme; green lineage; methylation; molecular evolution; site-directed mutagenesis

PMID:
26785049
DOI:
10.1016/j.molp.2016.01.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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