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Self-assembly mechanism of Rubisco activase

Description

The AAA+ ATPase Rubisco activase (Rca) regulates the activity of Rubisco, the photosynthetic enzyme responsible for catalyzing biological carbon fixation. However, the detailed mechanism by which Rca self-association controls Rubisco

The AAA+ ATPase Rubisco activase (Rca) regulates the activity of Rubisco, the photosynthetic enzyme responsible for catalyzing biological carbon fixation. However, the detailed mechanism by which Rca self-association controls Rubisco reactivation activity remains poorly understood. In this work, we are using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) to better characterize the thermodynamics of the assembly process of cotton Rca. We present FCS data for Rca in the presence of Mg*ATPgS and Mg*ADP and for the D173N Walker B motif mutant in the presence of Mg*ATP. Our data are consistent with promotion and stabilization of hexamers by Mg*ATPgS and Mg*ATP, whereas Mg*ADP facilitates continuous assembly. We find that in the presence of Mg·ADP, Rca self-associates in a step-wise fashion to form oligomeric and higher order forms, with a strong size dependence on subunit concentration. The monomer is the dominant species below 0.5 micromolar, whereas the hexamer appears to be most populated in the 10-30 micromolar range. Large assemblies containing on the order of 24 subunits become dominant above 40 micromolar, with continued assembly at even higher concentrations. Our data are consistent with a highly dynamic exchange of subunits among oligomeric species of diverse sizes. The most likely ADP-mediated assembly mechanism seems to involve the formation of spiral supra-molecular structures that grow along the helical axis by the step-wise addition of dimeric units. To examine the effect of Mg·ATP on oligomerization, we have generated the D173N mutant of Rca, which binds but does not hydrolyze ATP. In range of 8 and 70 micromolar, 60-80% of Rca is predicted to form hexamers in the presence of Mg*ATP compared to just 30-40% with Mg*ADP. We see a clear trend at which hexamerization occurs at high ATP:ADP ratios and in addition, at increasing concentrations of free magnesium ions to 5 milimolar that results in formation of six subunits. We present an assembly model where Mg*ATP promotes and stabilizes hexamerization at low micromolar Rca concentrations relative to Mg*ADP, and suggest that this results from closed ring hexamer formation in Mg*ATP and open hexameric spiral formation in Mg*ADP .

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Date Created
  • 2014