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Eur J Biochem. 1995 Nov 1;233(3):864-72.

Carotene desaturation is linked to a respiratory redox pathway in Narcissus pseudonarcissus chromoplast membranes. Involvement of a 23-kDa oxygen-evolving-complex-like protein.

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Biologisches Institut II, Zellbiologie, Freiburg, Germany.


The enzymic activity of phytoene desaturase in Narcissus pseudonarcissus chromoplast membranes depends in an essential way on the redox state of its environment. Here, the main redox-active components are quinones and tocopherols. Quinones (oxidized) act as intermediate electron acceptors in the desaturation reaction, as can be shown in reduced, hydroquinone-rich membranes. However, their complete oxidation by ferricyanide treatment of membranes leads to inhibition of the desaturation activity and, under these conditions, hydroquinones are required for reactivation. Using redox titrations, it is shown here that the optimal activity lies in the range of the midpoint potential of the plastoquinone/plastohydroquinone redox couple. For the adjustment of redox states of the redox-active lipid components in (photosynthetically inactive) chromoplasts, NADPH and oxygen are involved, the latter acting as a terminal acceptor. This results in a respiratory redox pathway in chromoplast membranes which is described here, to our knowledge, for the first time. Since phytoene desaturation responds to the redox state of quinones, which is adjusted by the respiratory redox pathway, the two reactions must be regarded as being mechanistically linked. The first protein component involved in the respiratory pathway which we have investigated molecularly is a 43-kDa NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, which is organized as a homodimer (23 +/- 3 kDa/subunit) and apparently possesses a manganese redox center. Internal protein microsequencing and cloning of the corresponding cDNA revealed a high degree of similarity to the 23-kDa protein of the oxygen-evolving complex of photosystem II, but no information about the N-terminal organization of the oxidoreductase could be obtained. During flower development, the steady-state concentration of the corresponding mRNA is up-regulated, indicating a specific function of the gene product in chlorophyll-free chromoplasts.

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