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

Truncation of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) from Rhodospirillum rubrum affects the holoenzyme assembly and activity.

Truncations of the subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) from Rhodospirillum rubrum were generated by site-directed mutagenesis to examine the role of the C-terminal tail section. Removal of the last and the penultimate alpha-helices in the tail section changes the quaternary structure of the protein. Electrophoretic and electron microscope analysis revealed that the truncated subunits assemble into an octamer, whereas the wild-type enzyme has a dimeric structure. The octomerization of the mutant protein is due to a hydrophobic patch exposed to the solvent by truncation of the subunit. The mutant protein thus consists of four dimers, bound end-to-end by hydrophobic interactions. Insertion of a polar amino acid in the hydrophobic patch by a L424 to N424 substitution restores the familiar dimeric structure. Truncation of the subunit is associated with a considerable decrease in catalytic activity. The mutants undergo carbamylation but bind the reaction intermediate analog, 2-carboxy arabinitol-1,5-bisphosphate, poorly. This indicates that loss of activity in the mutant is due to weakened substrate binding. These findings suggest that the mutations in the tail section of the subunit are transmitted to the active site, although the C-terminal region is far from the active site. On the basis of the crystal structure of Rubisco, we propose a model for how the truncations of the enzyme subunit induce conformational changes in one of the two phosphate binding sites.[1]


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