Phosphorylation of formate dehydrogenase in potato tuber mitochondria

J Biol Chem. 2003 Jul 11;278(28):26021-30. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M300245200. Epub 2003 Apr 24.


Two highly phosphorylated proteins were detected after two-dimensional (blue native/SDS-PAGE) gel electrophoretic separation of the matrix fraction isolated from potato tuber mitochondria. These two phosphoproteins were identified by mass spectrometry as formate dehydrogenase (FDH) and the E1alpha-subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). Isoelectric focusing/SDS-PAGE two-dimensional gels separated FDH and PDH and resolved several different phosphorylated forms of FDH. By using combinations of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, several phosphorylation sites were identified for the first time in FDH and PDH. FDH was phosphorylated on Thr76 and Thr333, whereas PDH was phosphorylated on Ser294. Both Thr76 and Thr333 in FDH were accessible to protein kinases, as demonstrated by protein structure homology modeling. The extent of phosphorylation of both FDH and PDH was strongly decreased by NAD+, formate, and pyruvate, indicating that reversible phosphorylation of FDH and PDHs was regulated in a similar fashion. At low oxygen concentrations inside the intact potato tubers, FDH activity was strongly increased relative to cytochrome c oxidase activity pointing to a possible involvement of FDH in hypoxic metabolism. Computational sequence analysis indicated that a conserved local sequence motif of pyruvate formate-lyase is found in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome, and this enzyme might be the source of formate for FDH in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Formate Dehydrogenases / chemistry
  • Formate Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • Hypoxia
  • Isoelectric Focusing
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (Lipoamide) / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Software
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Threonine / metabolism


  • Threonine
  • Formate Dehydrogenases
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (Lipoamide)
  • pyruvate dehydrogenase E1alpha subunit
  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • Oxygen