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

Cross-reconstitution of the F0F1-ATP synthases of chloroplasts and Escherichia coli with special emphasis on subunit delta.

F0F1-ATP synthases catalyse ATP formation from ADP and Pi by using the free energy supplied by the transmembrane electrochemical potential of the proton. The delta subunit of F1 plays an important role at the interface between the channel portion F0 and the catalytic portion F1. In chloroplasts it can plug the protonic conductance of CF0 and in Escherichia coli it is required for binding of EF1 to EF0. We wanted to know whether or not delta of one species was effective between F0 and F1 of the other species and vice versa. To this end the respective coupling membrane (thylakoids, everted vesicles from E. coli) was (partially) depleted of F1 and purified F1, F1(-delta), and delta were added in various combinations to the F1-depleted membranes. The efficiency or reconstitution was measured in thylakoids via the rate of phenazinemethosulfate-mediated cyclic photophosphorylation and in E. coli everted vesicles via the degree of 9-amino-6-chloro-2-methoxyacridine fluorescence quenching. Addition of CF1 to partially CF1-depleted thylakoid vesicles restored photophosphorylation to the highest extent. CF1(-delta)+chloroplast delta, EF1, EF1(-delta)+E. coli delta were also effective but to lesser extent. CF1(-delta)+E. coli delta and EF1(-delta)+chloroplast delta restored photophosphorylation to a small but still significant extent. With F1-depleted everted vesicles prepared by repeated EDTA treatment of E. coli membranes, addition of CF1, CF1 (-delta)+chloroplast delta and CF1(-delta)+E. coli delta gave approximately half the extent of 9-amino-6-chloro-2-methoxyacridine fluorescence quenching as compared to EF1 or EF1(-delta)+E. coli delta by energization of the vesicles with NADH, while Ef1(-delta)+chloroplast delta was ineffective. All 'mixed' combinations were probably reconstitutively active only by plugging the protonic leak through the exposed F0 (structural reconstitution) rather than by catalytic activity. Nevertheless, the cross-reconstitution is stunning in view of the weak sequence similarity between chloroplast delta and E. coli delta. It favors a role of delta as a conformational transducer rather than as a proton conductor between F0 and F1.[1]


  1. Cross-reconstitution of the F0F1-ATP synthases of chloroplasts and Escherichia coli with special emphasis on subunit delta. Engelbrecht, S., Deckers-Hebestreit, G., Altendorf, K., Junge, W. Eur. J. Biochem. (1989) [Pubmed]
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