The γ-subunit of cyanobacterial and chloroplast ATP synthase, the rotary shaft of F1-ATPase, equips a specific insertion region that is only observed in photosynthetic organisms. This region plays a physiologically pivotal role in enzyme regulation, such as in ADP inhibition and redox response. Recently solved crystal structures of the γ-subunit of F1-ATPase from photosynthetic organisms revealed that the insertion region forms a β-hairpin structure, which is positioned along the central stalk. The structure–function relationship of this specific region was studied by constraining the expected conformational change in this region caused by the formation of a disulfide bond between Cys residues introduced on the central stalk and this β-hairpin structure. This fixation of the β-hairpin region in the α3β3γ complex affects both ADP inhibition and the binding of the ε-subunit to the complex, indicating the critical role that the β-hairpin region plays as a regulator of the enzyme. This role must be important for the maintenance of the intracellular ATP levels in photosynthetic organisms.

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