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FEBS Lett. 1997 May 26;408(3):350-4.

Postimport methylation of the small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase in chloroplasts.

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Hewlett-Packard Chemical Analysis Group Europe, Waldbronn, Germany.


Electron impact mass spectronomy analysis of the amino-terminal amino acid of the small subunit (SSU) of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (Rubisco) showed that the amino-terminal methionine residue is post-translationally modified to N-methyl-methionine. Modification of the amino-terminal methionine residue was found in mature SSU proteins from the dicotyledonous plants pea and spinach as well as the monocotyledonous plants barley and corn. SSU methyltransferase is a soluble protein in the chloroplast stroma and accepts heterologously expressed non-methylated SSU as a substrate using S-adenosylmethionine as methyl-group donor. We show that this modification occurs after post-translational uptake of the precursor form of SSU into chloroplasts and processing to its mature size. This reaction represents a new step in the import and assembly pathway of Rubisco holoenzyme.

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