Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Research and Publications


Date of this Version



This paper was published in “The Plant Journal” 42, 832–843©2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC [Ppc]) has been previously purified and characterized in biochemical and immunological terms from two green microalgae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Selenastrum minutum. The findings indicate that these algae possess at least two distinct PEPC enzyme-forms, homotetrameric Class1 and heteromeric Class-2 that differ significantly from each other and their plant and prokaryotic counterparts. Surprisingly, however, green-algal PEPC has been unexplored to date in molecular terms. This study reports the molecular cloning of the two Ppc genes in C. reinhardtii (CrPpc1, CrPpc2), each of which is transcribed in vivo and encodes a fully active, recombinant PEPC that lacks the regulatory, N-terminal serylphosphorylation domain that typifies the vascular-plant enzyme. These distinct catalytic subunit-types differ with respect to their (i) predicted molecular mass (108.9 [CrPpc1] versus 131.2 kDa [CrPpc2]) and critical C-terminal tetrapeptide; and (ii) immunoreactivity with antisera against the p102 and p130 polypeptides of S. minutum PEPC1/PEPC2 and PEPC2, respectively. Only the Ppc1 transcript encodes the p102 catalytic subunits common to both Class-1 and Class-2 enzyme-forms in C. reinhardtii. The steady-state transcript levels of both CrPpc1/2 are coordinately up-/down-regulated by changes in [CO2] or [NH+4 ] during growth, and generally mirror the response of cytoplasmic glutamine synthetase (Gs1) transcript abundance to changes in inorganic [N] at 5% CO2. These collective findings provide key molecular insight into the Ppc genes and corresponding PEPC catalytic subunits in the eukaryotic algae.