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GUN4-Porphyrin Complexes Bind the ChlH/GUN5 Subunit of Mg-Chelatase and Promote Chlorophyll Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis
- Adhikari, Neil D., Froehlich, John E., Strand, Deserah D., Buck, Stephanie M., Kramer, David M., Larkin, Robert M.
- The plant cell 2011 v.23 no.4 pp. 1449-1467
- Arabidopsis thaliana, alleles, biosynthesis, chlorophyll, chloroplasts, enzymes, light intensity, mutants, proteins, protoporphyrin, reactive oxygen species, transgenic plants
- The GENOMES UNCOUPLED4 (GUN4) protein stimulates chlorophyll biosynthesis by activating Mg-chelatase, the enzyme that commits protoporphyrin IX to chlorophyll biosynthesis. This stimulation depends on GUN4 binding the ChlH subunit of Mg-chelatase and the porphyrin substrate and product of Mg-chelatase. After binding porphyrins, GUN4 associates more stably with chloroplast membranes and was proposed to promote interactions between ChlH and chloroplast membranes--the site of Mg-chelatase activity. GUN4 was also proposed to attenuate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by binding and shielding light-exposed porphyrins from collisions with O₂. To test these proposals, we first engineered Arabidopsis thaliana plants that express only porphyrin binding-deficient forms of GUN4. Using these transgenic plants and particular mutants, we found that the porphyrin binding activity of GUN4 and Mg-chelatase contribute to the accumulation of chlorophyll, GUN4, and Mg-chelatase subunits. Also, we found that the porphyrin binding activity of GUN4 and Mg-chelatase affect the associations of GUN4 and ChlH with chloroplast membranes and have various effects on the expression of ROS-inducible genes. Based on our findings, we conclude that ChlH and GUN4 use distinct mechanisms to associate with chloroplast membranes and that mutant alleles of GUN4 and Mg-chelatase genes cause sensitivity to intense light by a mechanism that is potentially complex.