Young pea leaves contain two structurally different forms of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (EC 6.4.1.2; ACCase). A minor form, which accounted for about 20% of the total ACCase activity in the whole leaf, was detected in the epidermal tissue. This enzyme was soluble and was purified to homogeneity from young pea leaf extracts. It consisted of a dimer of two identical biotinyl subunits of molecular mass 220 kDa. In this respect, this multifunctional enzyme was comparable with that described in other plants and in other eukaryotes. A predominant form was present in both the epidermal and mesophyll tissues. In mesophyll protoplasts, ACCase was detected exclusively in the soluble phase of chloroplasts. This enzyme was partially purified from pea chloroplasts and consisted of a freely dissociating complex, the activity of which may be restored by combination of its separated constituents. The partially purified enzyme was composed of several subunits of molecular masses ranging from 32 to 79 kDa, for a native molecular mass > 600 kDa. One of these subunits, of molecular mass 38 kDa, was biotinylated. This complex subunit structure was comparable with that of microorganisms and was referred to as a ‘prokaryotic’ form of ACCase. Biochemical parameters were determined for both ACCase forms. Finally, both pea leaf ACCases exhibited different sensitivities towards the grass ACCase herbicide, diclofop. This compound had no effect on the ‘prokaryotic’ form of ACCase, while the ‘eukaryotic’ form was strongly inhibited.

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