Many proteins contain disordered regions under physiological conditions and lack specific three-dimensional structure. These are referred to as IDPs (intrinsically disordered proteins). CP12 is a chloroplast protein of approximately 80 amino acids and has a molecular mass of approximately 8.2–8.5 kDa. It is enriched in charged amino acids and has a small number of hydrophobic residues. It has a high proportion of disorder-promoting residues, but has at least two (often four) cysteine residues forming one (or two) disulfide bridge(s) under oxidizing conditions that confers some order. However, CP12 behaves like an IDP. It appears to be universally distributed in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms and has recently been detected in a cyanophage. The best studied role of CP12 is its regulation of the Calvin cycle responsible for CO2 assimilation. Oxidized CP12 forms a supramolecular complex with two key Calvin cycle enzymes, GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) and PRK (phosphoribulokinase), down-regulating their activity. Association–dissociation of this complex, induced by the redox state of CP12, allows the Calvin cycle to be inactive in the dark and active in the light. CP12 is promiscuous and interacts with other enzymes such as aldolase and malate dehydrogenase. It also plays other roles in plant metabolism such as protecting GAPDH from inactivation and scavenging metal ions such as copper and nickel, and it is also linked to stress responses. Thus CP12 seems to be involved in many functions in photosynthetic cells and behaves like a jack of all trades as well as being a master of the Calvin cycle.

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