Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



Plant Physiol. (1991) 95, 981-985


Copyright American Society of Plant Biologists. Used by permission.


Control of C4 photosynthesis and Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is, in part, mediated by the diel regulation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) activity. The nature of this regulation of PEPC in the leaf cell cytoplasm of C4 and CAM plants is both metabolite-related and posttranslational. Specifically, the regulatory properties of the enzyme vary in accord with the physiological activity of C4 photosynthesis and CAM: PEPC is less sensitive to feedback inhibition by L-malate under light (C4 plants) or at night (CAM plants) than in darkness (C4) or during the day (CAM). While the view that a light-induced change in the aggregation state of the holoenzyme is a general mechanism for the diel regulation of PEPC activity in CAM plants is currentiy in dispute, there is no supportive in vivo evidence for such a tetramer/ dimer interconversion in C4 plants. In contrast, a wealth of in vitro and in vivo data has accumulated in support of the view that the reversible phosphorylation of a specific, N-terminal regulatory serine residue in PEPC (e.g. Ser-15 or Ser-8 in the maize or sorghum enzymes, respectively) plays a key, if not cardinal, role in the posttranslational regulation of the carboxylase by light/dark or day/night transitions in both C4 and CAM plants, respectively.