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Plant Physiol. 2017 Dec;175(4):1525-1535. doi: 10.1104/pp.17.01506. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

Arabidopsis β-Amylase2 Is a K+-Requiring, Catalytic Tetramer with Sigmoidal Kinetics.

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Department of Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
Department of Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807.

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The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genome contains nine β-amylase (BAM) genes, some of which play important roles in starch hydrolysis. However, little is known about BAM2, a plastid-localized enzyme reported to have extremely low catalytic activity. Using conservation of intron positions, we determined that the nine Arabidopsis BAM genes fall into two distinct subfamilies. A similar pattern was found in each major lineage of land plants, suggesting that these subfamilies diverged prior to the origin of land plants. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis indicated that BAM2 is the ancestral member of one of these subfamilies. This finding, along with the conservation of amino acids in the active site of BAM2, suggested that it might be catalytically active. We then identified KCl as necessary for BAM2 activity. Unlike BAM1, BAM3, and BAM5, three Arabidopsis BAMs that all exhibited hyperbolic kinetics, BAM2 exhibited sigmoidal kinetics with a Hill coefficient of over 3. Using multi-angle light scattering, we determined that BAM2 was a tetramer, whereas BAM5 was a monomer. Conserved residues from a diverse set of BAM2 orthologs were mapped onto a homology model of the protein, revealing a large, conserved surface away from the active site that we hypothesize is a secondary carbohydrate-binding site. Introduction of bulky methionine for glycine at two points on this surface reduced catalytic activity significantly without disrupting the tetrameric structure. Expression analysis indicated that BAM2 is more closely coexpressed with other starch degradation enzymes than any other BAM, suggesting that BAM2 may play an important role in starch degradation in plants.

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