Isolation and functional analysis of homogentisate phytyltransferase from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2001 Nov;127(3):1113-24.


Tocopherols, collectively known as vitamin E, are lipid-soluble antioxidants synthesized exclusively by photosynthetic organisms and are required components of mammalian diets. The committed step in tocopherol biosynthesis involves condensation of homogentisic acid and phytyl diphosphate (PDP) catalyzed by a membrane-bound homogentisate phytyltransferase (HPT). HPTs were identified from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Arabidopsis based on their sequence similarity to chlorophyll synthases, which utilize PDP in a similar prenylation reaction. HPTs from both organisms used homogentisic acid and PDP as their preferred substrates in vitro but only Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 HPT was active with geranylgeranyl diphosphate as a substrate. Neither enzyme could utilize solanesyl diphosphate, the prenyl substrate for plastoquinone-9 synthesis. In addition, disruption of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 HPT function causes an absence of tocopherols without affecting plastoquinone-9 levels, indicating that separate polyprenyltransferases exist for tocopherol and plastoquinone synthesis in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. It is surprising that the absence of tocopherols in this mutant had no discernible effect on cell growth and photosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / isolation & purification
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Cyanobacteria / enzymology*
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase / classification
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase / isolation & purification
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Photosynthesis
  • Phylogeny
  • Plastoquinone / metabolism
  • Protein Prenylation
  • Tocopherols / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • HPT1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Dimethylallyltranstransferase
  • Plastoquinone
  • Tocopherols