Biochemistry, Department of


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Plant Physiol. (1986) 82, 1107-1114


Autoradiography of total soluble maize (Zea mays) leaf proteins incubated with 32P-labeled adenylates and separated by denaturing electrophoresis revealed that many polypeptides were phosphorylated in vitro by endogenous protein kinase(s). The most intense band was at 94 to 100 kilodaltons and was observed when using either [γ -32P]ATP or [β-32P]ADP as the phosphate donor. This band was comprised of the subunits of both pyruvate, Pi dikinase (PPDK) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase). PPDK activity was previously shown to be dark/light-regulated via a novel ADP-dependent phosphorylation/Pi-dependent dephosphorylation of a threonyl residue. The identity of the acidstable 94 to 100 kilodalton band phosphorylated by ATP was established unequivocally as PEPCase by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. The phosphorylated amino acid was a serine residue, as determined by two-dimensional thin-layer electrophoresis. While the in vitro phosphorylation of PEPCase from illuminated maize leaves by an endogenous protein kinase resulted in a partial inactivation (~25%) of the enzyme when assayed at pH 7 and subsaturating levels of PEP, effector modulation by L-malate and glucose-6-phosphate was relatively unaffected. Changes in the aggregation state of maize PEPCase (homotetrameric native structure) were studied by nondenaturing electrophoresis and immunoblotting. Enzyme from leaves of illuminated plants dissociated upon dilution, whereas the protein from darkened tissue did not dissociate, thus indicating a physical difference between the enzyme from light- versus dark-adapted maize plants.