Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) is a key enzyme in the supply of carbon skeletons for the assimilation of nitrogen by green algae. Two PEPC isoforms with respective native molecular masses of 400 (PEPC1) and 650 (PEPC2) kDa have been purified from Chlamydomonas reinhardtiiCW-15 cc1883 (Chlorophyceae). SDS/PAGE, immunoblot and CNBr peptide-mapping analyses indicate the presence of the same 100 kDa PEPC catalytic subunit in both isoforms. PEPC1 is a homotetramer, whereas PEPC2 seems to be a complex between the PEPC catalytic subunit and other immunologically unrelated polypeptides of 50–70 kDa. Kinetic analyses indicate that these PEPC isoforms are (1) differentially regulated by pH, (2) activated by glutamine and dihydroxyacetone phosphate and (3) inhibited by glutamate, aspartate, 2-oxoglutarate and malate. These results are consistent with the current model for the regulation of anaplerotic carbon fixation in green algae, and demonstrate that green algal PEPCs are uniquely regulated by glutamine. Several techniques were used to assess the structural relationships between C. reinhardtiiPEPC and the higher plant or prokaryotic enzyme. Immunoblot studies using anti-(green algal or higher plant PEPC) IgGs suggested that green algal (C. reinhardtii, Selenastrum minutum), higher plant (maize, banana fruit, tobacco) and prokaryotic (Synechococcus leopoliensis, Escherichia coli)PEPCs have little or no immunological relatedness. Moreover, the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the C. reinhardtiiPEPC subunit did not have significant similarity to the highly conserved corresponding region in enzymes from higher plants, and CNBr cleavage patterns of green algal PEPCs were distinct from those of higher plant and cyanobacterial PEPCs. These results point to significant evolutionary divergence between green algal, higher plant and prokaryotic PEPCs.

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