Recessiveness and dominance in barley mutants deficient in Mg-chelatase subunit D, an AAA protein involved in chlorophyll biosynthesis

Plant Cell. 2006 Dec;18(12):3606-16. doi: 10.1105/tpc.106.042374. Epub 2006 Dec 8.


Mg-chelatase catalyzes the insertion of Mg2+ into protoporphyrin IX at the first committed step of the chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway. It consists of three subunits: I, D, and H. The I subunit belongs to the AAA protein superfamily (ATPases associated with various cellular activities) that is known to form hexameric ring structures in an ATP-dependant fashion. Dominant mutations in the I subunit revealed that it functions in a cooperative manner. We demonstrated that the D subunit forms ATP-independent oligomeric structures and should also be classified as an AAA protein. Furthermore, we addressed the question of cooperativity of the D subunit with barley (Hordeum vulgare) mutant analyses. The recessive behavior in vivo was explained by the absence of mutant proteins in the barley cell. Analogous mutations in Rhodobacter capsulatus and the resulting D proteins were studied in vitro. Mixtures of wild-type and mutant R. capsulatus D subunits showed a lower activity compared with wild-type subunits alone. Thus, the mutant D subunits displayed dominant behavior in vitro, revealing cooperativity between the D subunits in the oligomeric state. We propose a model where the D oligomer forms a platform for the stepwise assembly of the I subunits. The cooperative behavior suggests that the D oligomer takes an active part in the conformational dynamics between the subunits of the enzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • Chlorophyll / biosynthesis*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Dominant*
  • Genes, Recessive*
  • Hordeum / enzymology*
  • Hordeum / genetics*
  • Lyases / chemistry
  • Lyases / deficiency*
  • Lyases / genetics
  • Lyases / metabolism
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / deficiency
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rhodobacter capsulatus / ultrastructure
  • Seedlings / enzymology


  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Chlorophyll
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • m-AAA proteases
  • Lyases
  • magnesium chelatase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AAZ32779