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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Assessment of plant chaperonin-60 gene function in Escherichia coli.

Brassica napus chaperonin-60 alpha and chaperonin-60 beta genes expressed separately and in combination produce three novel Escherichia coli strains: alpha, beta, and alpha beta. In beta and alpha beta cells, the plant gene products assemble efficiently into tetradecameric cpn60(14) species, including novel hybrids containing both bacterial and plant gene products. The levels of authentic groEL14 are reduced in these cells (Cloney, L. P., Wu, H. B., and Hemmingsen, S. M. (1992) J. Biol. Chem. 267, 23327-23332). The assembly of cyanobacterial ribulose-P2 carboxylase (rubisco) in E. coli requires the activities of the endogenous chaperonin proteins. Furthermore, the extent to which assembly occurs is limited by the normal levels of expression of the groE operon (Goloubinoff, P., Gatenby, A. A., and Lorimer, G. H. (1989) Nature 337, 44-47). We have now monitored the accumulation of cyanobacterial rubisco in E. coli alpha, beta, and alpha beta cells to assess the activity of the plant cpn60 gene products and effects on endogenous chaperonin functions. Expression of cpn-60 alpha alone did not enhance rubisco assembly, which is consistent with our previous observation that p60cpn-60 alpha required the presence of p60cpn-60 beta for assembly into cpn60(14) species. In contrast, expression of cpn-60 beta alone resulted in markedly enhanced rubisco assembly in cells that accumulated normal levels of both endogenous chaperonin polypeptides ( groEL and groES). This demonstrates that assembled p60cpn-60 beta is functional as a chaperonin in E. coli. Co-expression of cpn-60 alpha and cpn-60 beta in cells with normal levels of expression of groES and groEL suppressed rubisco assembly. Increased expression of groES in cells in which cpn-60 alpha and cpn-60 beta were co-expressed relieved this suppression and resulted in enhanced rubisco assembly. Implications with respect to dependence of chloroplast cpn60 function on cpn10 are discussed.[1]


  1. Assessment of plant chaperonin-60 gene function in Escherichia coli. Cloney, L.P., Bekkaoui, D.R., Wood, M.G., Hemmingsen, S.M. J. Biol. Chem. (1992) [Pubmed]
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