Serine-451 phosphorylation of bacterial-type phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase by a calcium-dependent protein kinase links calcium signaling with anaplerotic pathway control in developing castor oil seeds
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Phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxylase (PEPC) is a tightly controlled enzyme situated at a pivotal branchpoint of plant C-metabolism. Two physically and kinetically distinct oligomeric classes of PEPC exist in the endosperm of developing castor oil seeds (COS). Class-1 PEPC is a typical homotetramer composed of 107-kDa plant-type PEPC (PTPC) subunits, whereas the 910-kDa Class-2 PEPC hetero-octameric complex arises from a tight interaction between Class-1 PEPC and distantly related 118-kDa bacterial-type PEPC (BTPC) subunits. BTPC functions as both a catalytic and regulatory subunit of the allosterically-desensitized Class-2 PEPC, which has been hypothesized to support massive PEP-flux to malate for leucoplast fatty acid synthesis. Previous studies established that BTPC: (i) subunits of COS Class-2 PEPC are subject to inhibitory phosphorylation in vivo, and (ii) at Ser425 and Ser451 within an intrinsically disordered region. This study focuses on characterization of the COS protein kinase (BTPC-K) that phosphorylates BTPC at Ser451. BTPC-K, having a native molecular mass of 63 kDa, was purified ~500-fold from developing COS endosperm. Its activity was absolutely dependent upon the presence of Ca2+ (Ka= 2.7 μM) and millimolar Mg2+. BTPC-K phosphorylated BTPC subunits of Class-2 PEPC strictly at Ser451 (Km= 1.1 μM), as well as histone type III-S (Km= 1.7 μM), but did not phosphorylate a BTPC S451D phosphomimetic mutant, native COS PTPC or sucrose synthase, or α-casein. BTPC-K displayed a broad pH-activity optima of pH 7.3, a Km for Mg2+-ATP of 6.6 μM, and marked inhibition by 3-P-glycerate and PEP. The possible control of BTPC-K by disulfide-dithiol interconversion was suggested by its rapid inactivation and subsequent reactivation when incubated with oxidized glutathione and then dithiothreitol. BTPC-K activity was insensitive to exogenous calmodulin, but potently inhibited by 100 µM trifluoperazine (a calmodulin antagonist). BTPC-K-mediated Ser451 phosphorylation of BTPC subunits of Class-2 PEPC inhibited BTPC activity by ~50% when assayed under suboptimal conditions (pH 7.3, 1 mM PEP with 10 mM L-malate). Overall the results of this study have led to the hypothesis that in vivo phosphorylation of COS BTPC at Ser451 is mediated by a dedicated calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK).