The Biochemical journal

Structural and functional consequences of removing the N-terminal domain from the magnesium chelatase ChlH subunit of Thermosynechococcus elongatus.

PMID 25471602


Magnesium chelatase (MgCH) initiates chlorophyll biosynthesis by catalysing the ATP-dependent insertion of Mg2+ into protoporphyrin. This large enzyme complex comprises ChlH, I and D subunits, with I and D involved in ATP hydrolysis, and H the protein that handles the substrate and product. The 148xa0kDa ChlH subunit has a globular N-terminal domain attached by a narrow linker to a hollow cage-like structure. Following deletion of this ~18xa0kDa domain from the Thermosynechoccus elongatus ChlH, we used single particle reconstruction to show that the apo- and porphyrin-bound forms of the mutant subunit consist of a hollow globular protein with three connected lobes; superposition of the mutant and native ChlH structures shows that, despite the clear absence of the N-terminal 'head' region, the rest of the protein appears to be correctly folded. Analyses of dissociation constants shows that the ΔN159ChlH mutant retains the ability to bind protoporphyrin and the Gun4 enhancer protein, although the addition of I and D subunits yields an extremely impaired active enzyme complex. Addition of the Gun4 enhancer protein, which stimulates MgCH activity significantly especially at low Mg2+ concentrations, partially reactivates the ΔN159ChlH-I-D mutant enzyme complex, suggesting that the binding site or sites for Gun4 on H do not wholly depend on the N-terminal domain.